How to prevent a cat bite from getting infected?

The way to prevent a cat bite from getting infected is to use a prescribed antibiotic immediately you see an infection. Speed is a critical aspect of the treatment. Strictly speaking this is not preventing an infection but reacting fast to it. This is the best advice because most cat bites don’t lead to bacterial infections. Nothing happens. The skin is broken but there is no redness and inflammation in the area of the bite. It resolves itself quickly.

But occasionally (I would say rarely) you’ll see redness and inflammation around the site of the bite and the area will become tender. The inflammation will grow in size. The cat has deposited bacteria in the skin where it grows.

The key as mentioned is to take antibiotics as soon as you see redness around the site of the bite. If you do that you’ll only need four tablets to resolve the infection in my personal experience. You may need more and your doctor will no doubt advise you to take the entire course of treatment but I don’t think you’ll need it. And antibiotics can mess up the gut bacteria which is good for digestion.

However, if you wait – and the longer you wait the more severe the problem becomes – you may, exceptionally, need a hospital stay and an intravenous drip of antibiotics.

You may have some antibiotics left over from some other illness. Use them if appropriate – you decide if it is appropriate. Use by date and type of antibiotic are factors.

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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5 Responses

  1. Susan Gort says:

    I’ve worked with animals of all different species for going on 50 years. I’ve been bitten by many cats and have never had a problem. I scrub the bite area with antibiotic soap and let the wounds heal on their own-which they do. The worst infection I ever got from an animal bite was from a dog. Keeping the wound scrubbed and dry has served me well all those years.

  2. Elisa Black-Taylor says:

    I haven’t been bitten in many years but I’m a big believer in making it bleed a bit as soon as it happens. A lot of people suggest soaking in Epson salts in warm water after washing out the wound.

    My herbalist made a cream for a horrible abscess that came out of nowhere a few years ago. I had to rub it into the wound for 4 days. She said it would be healed on day 4. It was healed on day 3. I still don’t have a clue what she used in it. She’s very knowledgeable and the cream cost $15 for an ounce.

    • Michael Broad says:

      I am rarely bitten but Gabriel is pretty wild sometimes (feral cat heritage) and therefore more prone to hard play biting.

  3. Albert Schepis says:

    Great advice!

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