Bacteria Pasteurella Multocida in Mouth of Cat Can Cause Meningitis

A cat, the family’s pet, licked a three-week old baby’s bottle and the baby ended up fighting for her life in hospital with meningitis. The bacteria that caused it resided in the mouth of the cat and is called Pasteurella multocida3.

However, it must be made extremely clear that it is very, very rare indeed for a person to contract meningitis from the family cat.

However, this particular bacteria is rather nasty and it is inside the mouths of animals generally. It is just that only 20% of dog bites become infected overall compared to 60% in cats and this particular bacterial infection is 10 times more likely after a cat bite that a dog bite.

High-risk patients, meaning people who have received a bite and are are a greater risk of contracting a serious illness are those with a suppressed immune system. Other patients similarly affected are those with prosthetic joints, diabetics, those have undergone mastectomy, those who have cirrhosis and those undergoing steroid therapy.

The wound should be cleaned out thoroughly and antibiotics administered but they should be administered with great care, apparently, because a commonly used antibiotic Erythromycin should never be used alone in treating bite wounds because more than 80% of Pasteurella multocida bacteria are resistant and if the treatment fails one possibility is that the person contracts meningitis2.

The reason why I’m mentioning this, in this short article, is that I don’t want newspapers to jump on this and exaggerate it and paint an inaccurate picture and I also want to highlight the fact that people suffering from immuno-suppression may carry a higher risk1 which should be factored in, if one is honest, when adopting a cat.

Although, as usual, it must be stated that it is always possible to avoid a cat bite. It is the hands of the person to manage themselves in relation to their cat, with good sense.


  1. – Pasteurella multocida infection in cats: ABCD guidelines on prevention and management.
  2. Public Health England-
  3. BBC –

8 thoughts on “Bacteria Pasteurella Multocida in Mouth of Cat Can Cause Meningitis”

  1. 8 weeks after an uneventful and easy knee replacement surgery, my knee erupted with infection. Little did I know that my 9 year old cat, who had always been a nipper, would be the cause. The dozens of previous bites had never caused a single problem, but the one bite did. Had two more surgeries on my knee as well as six weeks of twice a day IV antibiotic treatments. 10 weeks later still worry that infection might be hiding somewhere, and continue to monitor with blood tests. Loved my cat, but beware.

    • A very interesting comment Nancy. Many thanks for taking the time to comment. I think I’ll turn it into a short article.

  2. I can see alot of room for those media vultures to make a sensational article out of this – obviously depicting the cat as a dangerous monster.

    They are just crazy wild bitey scratchey lethal monsters aren’t they. My god. I mean my cat killed about 15 birds over 8 years. That’s just terrible. I mean we humans don’t kill birds do we, um?

    This is information will be used as ammo with the haters

  3. Simple hygiene can prevent all infections from animals. What was the mother of the baby doing letting the cat lick her bottle?
    As you say Michael a case like this is very very rare but no doubt the press will have a field day at the expense of cats and idiots who believe all they read will be panicking and chucking the family cat out 🙁

  4. The most dangerous place in the world for picking up life-threatening infections is a hospital. I would rather take my chances with my cats

  5. Anything in life has its own hazards even owning and caring for pets.Isn’t crossing a road dangerous for accidents to us humans ? The “Pasteurella multocida3 ” bacteria that infected this baby is definitely one of the rarest of rare cases.As Michael says hope the media doesn’t make the common cat a symbol of a pet than can pass on dangerous animal infections to humans.


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