Bitten and scratched by a cat. What to do?

I was bitten and scratched by a young feral cat. I immediately washed rigorously the wounds with soap and water, dryed them and applied generously Betadine surgical scrub and let it for at least two minutes before washing.

Is there anything else I should do?

I would call my county health department to find out the rabies situation for the area. My area has rabies common in bats, foxes, skunks, and raccoons. There have also been a few rabid cats around here this year.

ETA: Ideally, if the cat is available, it should be euthanised and its brain submitted for rabies testing.

Cat bites are very very dirty and are often much deeper than they look. Cats have long needle-like teeth.

I would see a doctor, to be honest. At the very least watch them very closely for redness and early signs of infection.

ETA: Missed the feral part - yes, see a doctor right away. Capture the cat if you can, to have it evaluated for rabies.

Are you in the US? Is there rabies in your area?

Go see a doctor, seriously. Cat bites are REALLY prone to infection, and it can happen fast, you’d do well to get on some antibiotics. If you can’t trap the cat and rabies is prevalent in your area, I’d suggest going through the shot series. I’ve had it, and while it’s not something I’d do for fun it wasn’t all that bad.

If you don’t go to the doctor immediately (as I think you should) keep a very close eye on the wounds. Go to the doctor if you see any signs of redness or swelling.

I was bitten several years ago and two minor looking punctures swelled to the size of a tennis ball in two days; it took a week of antibiotics to resolve it.

As others have suggested, the cat should probably be euthanizecd and tested for rabies if you can trap it.

Another vote for doctor and rabies consult.

I was bitten on the hands by my own house cat while getting him to the vet. We were leaving for vacation and I wanted to downplay it and just get going, but many thanks to our vet, he saw my hands and said I had to get to the doctor pronto. He’s seen too many bad cat bites, worse than dog bites according to him.

My hands were a bit stiff then, but just a couple hours later swelled up like cartoon balloon hands. And this was a house cat with all his shots.

I think I read somewhere that bites and scrathes are nasty because they step in feces, and then clean themselves with their tongue. Makes sense.

I was badly scratched by a cat that hadn’t been out of the house for more than two years and that had its shots up to date. The doctor gave me antibiotics “for cat scratch fever”.

Get revenge!

Second the advice to go to a doctor ASAP. If you can’t get an appointment soon, go to an ER!

Remember, rabies is almost always fatal once started, while the injections will stop the onset of the disease. Better safe than sorry. Or dead.

No one mentioned the username/post combo?

I remember when an online friend got cat scratch fever. For two weeks whenever he went online I had to cross my fingers and mutter don’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayitdon’tsayit

As others have said, you need wound care by professionals. Trust me, a phrase you NEVER want to hear from a doctor is “I’m afraid it’s going to go to the bone…” as they are examining the infected cat bite at the base of your thumb. (One of our cats got something on her fur that needed to be washed off in the tub cause it could make her sick, and she paniced and bit. We’ve since found that dimmer lights, and a towel on the bottom of the tub soothes her.) That’s what happened to me, and believe me it is a special kind of chill to hear those words from a normally calm and unruffled doctor. :eek:

I work with cats and am around cats 24/7. Go see a doctor or urgent care or wherever you need to go to see a doctor today. Especially if the bites are on your hands. I’ve seen people hospitalized with drains in their hands and IV antibiotics from waiting a day. Go now or risk a week or two in the hospital. What seems like nothing now can turn into a disaster quickly, I am not exaggerating. Plus, it’s a feral with no vaccines - rabies is a real risk.

Just for future reference, personally, I would never risk touching a feral that was not sedated. I work with ferals in traps all the time. I would never risk trying to scruff one or handle one in any way that did not involve a trap or net and sedatives.

I really hope you’re OK!

It’s really less that, though it certainly doesn’t help. After all dogs eat their own and everybody else’s poop and their bites aren’t usually as bad infection-wise. In fact I believe the most common cause of infection in both dog and cat bites is the same bacteria - Pastuerella sp, especially P. multocida. Actually human bites are a lot nastier on average than dog bites, as dog bites tend to be shallower, more abrasive wounds that are more easily cleaned. And a few fetishists aside, most humans aren’t big on coprophagy ;).

Rather as noted above the issue with cats is that they have relatively long, narrow, sharply pointed teeth, particularly those prominent canines. So they tend to form deep, narrow puncture wounds that seal over readily on top but imbed a wealth of nasty bacteria deep into your muscle tissue where it is hard to clean out. Even worse as a lot of cat bites are to hands and can get bacteria next to bones and tendons and where there is less blood circulation to fight infection.

I was bitten in the hand by an indoor cat that was current on shots. That was around noon, I went to the ER around 5pm. I was sent on my way after they cleaned it up and bandaged it. Big mistake, I was back two days later in horrible pain, with swelling. I was on an IV drip and hospitalized for five days after that. If you went to the doctor, don’t let them tell you you’ll be fine with just some peroxide and a bandaid. Stay on top of it, and don’t delay the two days like I did (which was the original doc’s fault).

Yeah, standard care here is prophylactic antibiotics on top of a cleaning and bandaging. Turns out they’re usually really not prophylactic, and only seem that way if started immediately. I can’t believe they didn’t get you started on them, but I guess if they don’t see many cat bite wounds. We have a specific occupational medicine office where we send people when they get bitten on the job or as volunteers, so I guess because of us they have seen lots of cat bites!

Thanks for the replies.

I had first thing in the morning a specialist see my hand. Turns out the wounds were very superficial and today are barely visible. No swelling, pain or redness at all. I didn’t even bandage it yesterday because there was only minimal bleeding at first and it went away after I washed with Betadine.

I asked about antibiotics, etc. but he said that since I was in the army recently and had all the shots done to me, there’s no need to do anything.

That’s great. I’ve heard of people getting flesh eating bacteria from a cat scratch.

This is pretty much exactly how my mom ended up in the hospital back in the 80s. The e.r. doc didn’t take it as serious as he should and she ended up being admitted 2 or 3 days later.