This page contains a chart comparing statistics on cat and dog bites worldwide and for some selected countries where data is available. The statistics are not always precise.
Many animals can and do bite humans including the human animal. The most common are from snakes, dogs, cats and monkeys. The number of bites from an animal species is only part of the story. The other part is the health effect the bite has on the person. The statistics vary from region to region and country to country.
For example, there are up to an estimated 125,000 deaths worldwide from 5 million snake bites per year whereas there are 4.5 million dog bites per year in the USA alone causing 10-20 deaths. Dog bites are the most common animal bite worldwide by far. There are tens of millions of dog bites annually and the consequence are far more serious than for cat bites8. There are no reported deaths from a cat bite alone (i.e. excluding rabies transmission, of which there appear to be no recorded incidents).
Chart stats from World Health Organisation unless stated otherwise:
|Percentage of injuries related to animal-bites, worldwide||76–94%||2–50%||For cats the estimate is very imprecise|
|UK – percentage of cases at NHS hospitals of an animal bite (including human bites)2||80%||15%
Alternative figure: 10%4
|Human bites represented 5% of all cases. Most cat bites are from female strays. Only 20% of cat bites are caused by a domestic cat2. 551% increase in two decades of dog bites3|
|USA: number bitten annually||4.5m
Alternative figure: 1-4.5m4
|400,000 estimated||“Dog bite injuries are the No. 1 childhood public health problem reported each year” (for Pinellas County, USA)|
|USA: number seeking medical treatment||885,000||66,000 at “hospital emergency departments”||Cat and dog bites combined resulted in 334,000 emergency hospital visits per year4.|
|USA: percentage developing infections||3-18%||80% (src: absolutely cats.com)|
|USA: requiring surgery per year||30,000||?|
|USA: Fatalities per year||10-20||0||Dogs: 167 fatalities of people over age 14 in USA between 2001-20106|
|UK fatalities 2010||22||02|
|Pinellas County, USA – 2011||1384||684||Source: pinellascounty.org|
|Clark County, Nevada 2010||1075||140||Source: clarkcountynv.gov|
|Pinellas County, USA – 1995||1601||1036||Source: pinellascounty.org – you can see a marked decrease in the number of cat bites from 1995 to 2011.|
|Percentage victims becoming infected by bite||15-20%||30-50%||Source: healthline.com|
|Worldwide rabies percentage cases in humans caused by animal bite||97%||?||In the USA there are 1-2 human rabies deaths per year mainly due to bat bites5.|
|Most at risk||Children (70% involve children1)||Female adults|
|USA: Average age of victim||13||19-20||Source: healthline.com|
|Most common direct causes||Dog is protective, grumpy, provoked, injured, startled, bitting too hard in play, herding or sees child as prey7.||Petting induced aggression (over-petting) and fear (due to mishandling)|
|Indirect causes||socialisation, inherited traits, obedience training, health||socialisation, inherited traits, health|
|Prevention||Supervision of children in the presence of a dog is vital and education of parents (more concerned parenting)||Education on cat care and handling.||It is about what people can do to care and manage their cats and dogs better. See: Old woman hospitalised by stray cat bite.|
Refs — note: you will find variation in figures because the statistics are sometimes imprecise. The USA has better record keeping than any other country.
- CDC Data
- World Health Organisation
- Photo of dog biting by NYCMarines
- Photo of cat bite by Candie_N (Welcome Spring)