The vast majority of bites — animal or human — are from the jaws of a dog. The figure is about 90 percent plus. But the worst of bites may be that of the feline.
Cat bites make up smaller percentage of teeth-to-skin, but by far, make up the highest percentage of infections and complications.READ MORE: Park Hill Residents File Lawsuit Against Safe Outdoor Space For Homeless In Church Parking Lot
A new study from the Mayo Clinic says one-in-three cat bites become infected to the point where humans on the receiving end require hospitalization.
The reason: even though dog mouths contains as many germs, and human bites contain nastier germs, cat bites do the kind of damage the others often don’t.
Cat teeth are like mini-needles — they penetrate deep and inject their germs farther into the tissue (usually a hand or wrist), where the bacteria can take off like a wildfire, leading to permanent loss of use of a hand or finger (or other body part.)
Those pointy teeth can easily penetrate a tendon, or some other important structure –and since those are deeper areas hard to cleanse, the germs quickly multiply and eat away at those structures.READ MORE: Busy Friday Night In Downtown Denver Could Signal Trend Toward Post-Pandemic Life
That’s not to say I’d rather care for a dog bite or human bite over a cat bite. I don’t.
Dog bites typically tear and crush tissue, while human bites usually are more gaping (and located on the knuckles of fingers that had a run-in with punch to someone’s mouth.)
They all need cleaning, and they almost all need antibiotics.
But when I see a cat bite, I really scrub them, antibiotic them, and make sure people understand that even with the best of care, the bites can get red, inflamed, and painful from infection. And sometimes a quickly as within a couple of hours.
Even though a hand might swell to the size of a boxing glove, it’s the severe pain that is the sign of bad things happening.MORE NEWS: Colorado's Comeback: Moviegoers Return To Regal Theatres Amid COVID Safety Protocols
The message: don’t ignore or downplay any bite. But be especially cautious when it comes from the fangs of that sweet, cuddly, kitty cat.