My Cat Scratched Me! What Should I Do Now?

Almost all cat owners have suffered the wrath of their pets’ claws at one point or another. It can happen quickly in a fit of playfulness. If you’ve been scratched, you’ll want to take your pet to a cat veterinarian to be examined, especially if it spends time outside on a daily basis. Some cats get germs under their claws that can cause “cat scratch fever” and other illnesses, including rabies, tetanus, ringworm or other bacterial infections. These can be treated with antibiotics.

However, before visiting the vet, you need to apply first aid to your scratch. Wash your hands thoroughly. Then, gently wash the scratched area. If the wound is bleeding, put pressure on the wound with a warm, wet cloth until the bleeding subsides. Clean the area with warm water. Hot water could make it start bleeding again. Apply a good antibacterial ointment to the scratch, and cover it with gauze or a bandage.

Once your wound has been addressed, take your cat to the vet. If you’re a responsible pet owner, your beloved pet is up-to-date on its shots. Your vet can check the cat’s paws for dirt, feces or other signs of a germ buildup. The vet might even do some tests on the cat’s blood to be sure it isn’t sick itself.

Close Up on Cat ClawsOver the course of the next few days to a week, be on the lookout for signs that you may have contracted some illness from the scratch. If you are immuno-compromised, you are more likely to develop complications from a cat scratch. Here are some symptoms.

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Enlarged lymph glands
  • Swelling of the face or neck
  • Red patches of skin

Your cat also can pass the parasite toxoplasmosis to you if it has feces on its claws. In severe cases, it can damage the eyes, lungs or brain. Toxoplasmosis can be treated with an antiparasitic drug.

Your cat veterinarian can quickly examine your cat and let you know if you’re in danger of developing any complications from the scratch. Infections might occur, but they are easy to treat. Call 504-835-4266 to schedule an appointment at MSAH today!

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