A person should never receive a cat bite. It’s about cat management and knowing what you can and can’t do. It’s about reading a cat’s demeanor and attitude and being sensitive to body language. We really need to respect the cat as a domesticated animal that is essentially wild cat at heart. Particular caution and awareness needs to be in place when dealing with stray cats that wander into your home. When cats are under pressure and become defensive they can move extremely fast and unexpectedly if you are not reading the warning signs through cat body language. This is not a reason to criticize a cat. It is something we should respect a cat for.
Perhaps people who love or like cats can become a bit complacent because their cat knows them well. There is very little chance of being bitten by your own cat (other than in play) unless you are stupid, to be honest.
But a stray cat that wanders into your home will be the sort of cat that could hurt you. In the first place, this is because they are confident. They have to be confident to be able to walk into a strange home. They are also liable to be defensively aggressive because as they walk into many homes they are likely to get rough treatment from some people and other animals.
In short a wandering cat that is time sharing between many homes can and will hiss, growl, scratch and bite if she has to. Proportionally, there are probably more wandering cats in the UK than the USA.
In the USA it is estimated that 675,000 cat bite victims seek medical treatment annually. The majority are women. This is almost certainly because there are more women than men who have cat companions.
If you are an elderly lady and you are not sure how to remove a stray cat from your home, you can be bitten. The bite can become infected. In fact we are told that half of all cat bites become infected. An infection from a cat bite is the serious aspect of a cat bite. The bite itself does relatively little harm. See cat bites signs of infection.
But if a woman tries to force a stray cat out of her home and the stray refuses to oblige great care should be taken to encourage the cat to go. It may simply be better to wait. Eventually a stray will move on. However, if the person has a cat of her own that cat might be stressed and/or in conflict with the stray. The stray should be removed. Strays wander into homes because there is cat food available.
It could be argued that there should be no access that allows a stray cat to get into the home but a lot of people like to let their cat out through a cat flap. Microchip operated cat flaps are a good choice but a lot of people don’t know of them or can’t afford them. Or they simply don’t want to go through the all the hassle of installation and microchipping their cat.
Let’s say an elderly and kindly lady tries to remove a large stray tom cat that has come in and settled on a chair in her home. She tries to lift him up to get him out. He bites unexpectedly. The bite does not look that bad and the cat moves on eventually.
The lady ignores the bite. After a few days the wound swells up. She does not want to see a doctor. She waits. She is uncertain and not thinking clearly. This seems to be the danger zone. Letting an infected bite go unattended can lead to a real and perhaps life threatening infection. “Life threatening” because elderly ladies are vulnerable from a health standpoint. Under these conditions the lady is likely to end up in hospital for quite a long time and it might be a life changing event as she may not be able to return to her home because her health has deteriorated in hospital.
To avoid all this trauma, the trick is to respect the stray cat as a top predator. When I have had to remove a stray cat I do it by taking a large cushion from the sofa and placing it about 10 inches to the side of the cat that is away from the open door. I then slowly move the cushion towards the cat, The cat will hiss and move away from the cushion and towards the door. I keep doing this until the cat leaves my home. No one is hurt and there is minimal disruption and stress. The cushion is quite away off the ground to allow my hands to be well out of the way. If needs be, wear gloves. This is just my way. There are countless others but all should respect the cat and protect the person.
This may all sound very odd to some people, particularly people who keep full-time indoor cats, which prevents cats coming in. In England strays entering homes is not uncommon particularly in large urban areas.