Cat Bites: Even More Dangerous Than Dog Bites | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

There is so much information online regarding dog bites and how serious these injuries can be. But many people don’t realize that cat bites can also cause serious and even life-threatening injuries. One of the biggest dangers with cat bites is the high risk of developing an infection from that bite. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that one in three victims of cat bites had to be hospitalized. Two-thirds of those hospitalized required surgery.

And just like serious dog bites, a victim of a cat bite who suffers losses can pursue damages under North Carolina law.

If a person is bitten by a cat, they may think there is nothing to worry about because the bite seems to be a minor one. However, it is the shape of a cat’s teeth that causes the dangerous risk of infection. Their teeth are long, curved, and sharp enough to deeply penetrate a person’s skin when they bite. This means that the cat’s teeth could be transmitting bacteria into the victim when they bite. Cats are known to carry a large number of bacteria in their mouths. One of the more common is highly pathogenic bacteria known as Pasteurella multocida.

Unlike a dog bite, however, the holes a cat bite leaves on the skin are so small that they usually scab over quickly. This leaves that bacteria trapped inside.

Within one to two days, that trapped bacteria can turn into an infection that can rapidly spread throughout the victim’s body if it is not treated. This untreated infection – as with any infection – can put the victim’s life at risk.

If the cat bite wound is red, swollen, and painful, this is a sign that there is an infection. This can quickly turn to cellulitis or turn into septicemia (blood poisoning). This is why anyone who has been bitten by a cat should immediately seek medical treatment to ensure that any risk of this type of infection is eliminated.




If you do become the victim of a cat bite, immediately rinse the bite wound under running water. Do not scrub the wound, use disinfectants, or other chemicals since these substances could damage the injured tissue even further. Contact your medical provider right away.

Legal Options

In North Carolina, all pet owners have a legal responsibility to protect the general public from injuries caused by their pets. This law does not just apply to dogs, but to cats and any other animals the person owns. If an animal is overly aggressive, has a history of biting, is skittish, or exhibits other behavioral issues, it is up to the owner to make sure the animal is not allowed to run loose. Failure to do so could leave the pet owner liable for any damages a victim sustains because of the bite.

If you or a family member have sustained injuries from a cat dog, or any other animal, contact North Carolina personal injury attorney to find out what legal options you may have. Not only may you be entitled to medical expenses and loss of income, but you may also be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and the scarring or disfigurement your injuries have left.

The legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled N.C. animal bite attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today at (833) 997-1774 for a free case evaluation.