cat bite!

Nurses General Nursing


Hi ! My first post! I just got off work and now I'm debating going to the ER (UGH) as a PATIENT (DOUBLE UGH) b/c my cat scratch/bite from 2 days ago are still erythematous and tender (R anterior forearm) I'm thinking the site is infected, and from when I used to work in the ER I remember that we had to ADMIT patients for at least 24 hours for IV ABX. Have any of you guys experienced this or treated patients like this? The wound is just barely open- one tiny tooth mark, very superficial, and my cat is a housecat now so no risk really of new diseases. There is no swelling or drainage, just the redness surrounding the bite. I REALLY don't want to be admitted and ruin my weekend, or spend all night in the ER waiting...any ideas???

Thanks! And thanks for letting me "prowl" all this time on this site without contributing...I love it here- I'm here everyday! :)


135 Posts

Go and get it seen - animal bites can get very nasty very quickly...


38 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

Hey goodietwoshoes, my cat just bite me on my left anterior forearm. I figured since I had my tetnus I just cleaned it very good with betadine. It was alittle puffy for a day or so but now it is scabbing over & healing. BTW, my cat is a strictly indoor cat too. Less infection possible but if you question it go with your gut & make the trek to the ER. Hope everything is ok. Why do cat's do that anyway.... So moody sometimes:rolleyes:


7 Posts

Go to the doctors. . . my cat scratched me near my eye, really bled and became puffy. The doc put me on 5 days of duricef and bactroban cream. it's been 3 weeks and i still have faint marks.

Jay-Jay, RN

633 Posts

In 5 years of doing homecare nursing I have seen quite a few cases of cellulitis due to cat bites. The patients all needed IV abx. The first dose is given in the ER to make sure the patient doesn't have a serious reaction to the abx, then the rest can be given at home. Standard course is IV ancef q. 8 h. x 3 days. via CADD pump (a small ambulatory infusion pump)


1 Article; 2,334 Posts


My Mom's "strictly indoor" cat bit her leg. We cleaned it with betadine & dressed it with bactroban and changed it daily. 72 hours after the bite it was "still" just a little red and maybe a little puffy, no drainage, not especially tender. 12 hours later she was admitted to the hospital for necrotizing facitis, lucking they were able to stop with heavy IV PCN and surgical debridement of a 4 inch diameter area.

Cats mouths are nasty, they carry some major bugs including some anerobes. The surgeon told my Mom that another 24 hours and she would have lost her leg, 48 and she would have lost her life...the wound never got red or went black over night.

Mimi2RN, ASN, RN

1,142 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

I had a bite on my thumb, tore the skin between my nail and knuckle. Took three stitches, an abx shot, tetanus shot, visits to ER for f/u for several days. I was off work for TEN DAYS. Couldn't work with an open wound on my hand.

Darn cat wanted to go outside when we had just sprayed with malathion. I said no, he said NOW! So he went outside.....

Wow thanks guys...I actually just got back from the ER: a mere 5 hours, 18g in the LAC, and 7 day scrip for abx (amoxicillin, bid)later. But now I can sleep knowing I'm going to nip this thing in the bud. As for the cat...anyone looking to adopt?? :)


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

Cat bites and scratches are VERY risky. One more reason not to own, or hang around, any of them.

for mice everywhere,


It is not the disease that your cat might have, but what they can give you from digging in litter that should concern you. Cat Scratch Fever is real and dangerous and a threat to your vision. I understand the ramifications of going to ER but I urge you to see your MD or APN soon.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

My vet once told me that scratches are usually OK, but even a small bite would require antibiotics ASAP. So far he's been right, and I've been a cat person for about 10 years, and have regular "discussions" with them about baths and car trips.


262 Posts

I was once bitten by a wild cat. It was captured and taken to the pound. The next morning I get a call from the shelter at 0600 to inform me that the cat had died and would be tested for rabies. That was frightening, but fortunately the cat didn't have rabies and I was O.K.

Now that I think about it, maybe it was me that caused the poor kitty's demise.:)

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