Skip to Content

Cat Scratch Or Bite

What Is It?

Cats usually attack by biting or scratching. Cat claws and mouths carry many germs. Some of these germs can cause cat-scratch disease or lockjaw (tetanus). Because of these germs, your wound can get easily infected. You should clean your wound right away. How long it takes the wound to heal depends on how deep the scratch or bite is.

Signs and Symptoms:

Your wound may bleed, hurt, swell, and look red or bruised. If it becomes infected, it may have pus in it, and can be very tender and red.


Clean the scratch or bite right away with soap and water. Wash it 3 to 4 times a day with soap and water. Keep it clean and dry. If possible, keep the wound higher than the level of the heart. This will help to lessen the pain and swelling. You may need a tetanus shot if you have not had one in the last 5 to 10 years. You may also need to take antibiotic (an-ti-bi-ah-tik) medicine to help keep the wound from getting infected.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.