Cat and Dog Bite Statistics
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).
|Anxiety - reduce it|
|FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages|
|Children and cats - important|
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)
Associated pages (examples): Cats versus Dogs and PoC search for “cats dogs” and cats and pandemics.
Well getting scratched and bitten by animals is part and parcel of having them around and anyone who gets seriously hurt by an animal well deserves it in my opinion as they don’t viciously attack for no reason.
Absolutely, it is about people. It always is. I hope the page encourages people to think more about the subject and how to avoid bites.
Reported animal bites/scratches are a HUGE deal here. A county animal investigator pays a visit to the home and requests evidence that the animal has current rabies vaccines. If they don’t, the animal must be placed in quarantine (it’s somewhere between 7-10 days). The cost to the owner to get the animal back is a possible fine, the cost of daily boarding, and the cost of being vaccinated. It is particularly important to dog owners because, any subsequent episodes, may cause the dog to be deemed “dangerous” and risks euthanasia.
It is important to note that the law doesn’t care if the animal was teased or provoked in any way. The law says that the owner must have their animal “under control” at all times.
Thanks for that information Dee. It is sad that the dog takes the wrap for human carelessness or mismanagement. The same goes for the cat. If people did everything correctly with respect to dogs and cats the number of bites would be dramatically reduced. There would be few “behavioral problems” if any and less euthanasias.
The data is particularly worrying with regard to children being bitten by dogs. This is the parent’s fault obviously. I bet too that there are far too many cases of children mishandling cats which leads to the end of the cat’s life at a shelter.
People need to do better I feel. I don’t think I am being too tough or picky.
Not too tough or picky at all.
Because of our stringent laws, I am very cautious about what kind of people I allow in my home and yard. Very young children are never a good idea. They are quick, and I don’t have enough eyes. Besides, I just don’t want to spend my time watching and worrying.
That is smart Dee. Kids can mess up can’t they? They can be a pain in the butt (arse in England!). I don’t like kids anymore…that’s another story.
Perhaps the sloppiness with respect to parenting children that takes place sometimes is the same sloppiness that applies to bad cat caretaking.
We have a type of person who should neither have kids nor cats.
I’m thrilled that I have no grandchildren. I would lose my mind, for sure!
My 2 kids learned the drill long ago when I said, “Look here, I barely liked YOU when you were young”.
I think that cat bites and scratches are, probably, underreported. At least in my life, nips and scratches are normal for me, especially when play takes a little rough turn, when I try to take some of my stuff from hoarder Damon, or if a feral gets “spooked” when I put down a feeding bowl. I woundn’t even think of reporting these incidents. Clean it aff, slap on some ointment, and I’m on my way…
Totally agree. The ones that are reported are because the person has gone to hospital and that may be because the person is less robust that you for example.
Very interesting statistics.
400.000 cat bites in the USA annually, I wonder how many of those are from declawed cats? Of course we will never know because that’s something else the declaw vets like to deny, that declawed cats bite in self defence because they can’t warn someone off with a scratch.
Good point again Ruth. It would be nice to compare cat bites as a percentage of cats in the USA and UK to see if they are higher in the USA. I’ll try and do that although these sorts statistics are not that precise. It might shed some light on how declawing encourages a cat to bite due to anxiety and feeling defenseless.