Cats Can Bite!
By Colleen Paige
Like our best canine kids, our feline kids can exhibit behavior problems just as frequently and with sharper claws and teeth, you might forget that your little yip-yip nipped you in the past, but you will never forget a cat bite! Cats tend to have more bacteria in their mouth and on their teeth, especially if they don’t eat dry food to scrape off plaque and tartar. Dogs often chew on items that help remove their plaque, which helps to keep their mouths cleaner. You also have the added threat of bacterial infection due to the hunting hobby of your outdoor kitty. Rats and mice are known carriers of all kinds of bacteria such as salmonellosis, leptospirosis and trichinosis.
Cat bites become infected more often because the bacteria that cats carry orally is called anaerobic, which thrives in an environment without oxygen. When a cat bites, often they claw you as well and this bacteria from it's teeth and the litter box is left behind in the tissue, multiplying at an alarming rate, because the wounds are more like fine needle-like punctures, which seal back over, leaving the bacteria in a little pocket to multiply from the heat of your body and the lack of oxygen. Dog bites on the other hand, are usually much deeper and wider, causing much more bleeding than a cat bite, which helps to clean out some of the initial bacteria. Dogs also don’t claw, so with cats, you often suffer from two kinds of wounds, rather than just one.
Cat bites often occur because an indoor cat is being territorially taunted by an outdoor cat through a door or window. You make the mistake of reaching out to pet her and bam! Cat bite. It can happen when you’re petting a strange cat that doesn’t trust you. One moment it looks as if they’re enjoying your affections and the next minute they grab your hand and sink their teeth into you. For this reason, never allow a child to pet a strange animal…dog, cat, bird or otherwise. You can also get inadvertently bitten you if you try to break up a fight between two cats. Then of course you have the cat that needs a garlic crucifix and holy water…the one who once was a cute little kitten and is now the son of Satan. These cats are inherently difficult, many times because they were abandoned at birth, lacking the social development necessary for the self control they’d learn growing up in a litter with a mother to teach them proper behavior. Sadly I know too many humans like this!
If your cat is a repeat biter, you’ll need to hire an animal behaviorist who can help you discover why your cat behaves the way he does and to help you fix the problem before anything really serious happens - like a guest losing an eye or ear lobe. The most important thing to remember is to never, ever hit an animal that bites you. This is not only because it’s simply cruel to do so, as many animals don’t understand what they did wrong - but you may be setting yourself up for further attack. Instead, remove yourself from the animal’s presence and call your veterinarian for assistance and guidance. Often, with a little love and patience, cat problems, even serious ones, can find resolve.