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A cat scratch could be more than extremely painful. The
wound may become infected, swell, bleed, and even sting. You could also fall
sick. You can treat minor scratches by yourself. A few wounds, however, need
special attention. The claws of a cat are much sharper than that of a dog and
much more probable to result in massive trauma. Greater trauma means more
significant swelling probability, exposure to the blood supply, along with a
chance of infection. If you get scratched, consider some factors like the
location of the wound, depth of the wound, and the nature of the cat itself.
Your health is also important in such a case.
If the cat scratch is a superficial one, then you can wash
off the wound using soap and water. In case the area bleeds, apply a little
pressure with a clean and dry gauze pad. Visit the doctor if the bleeding does
not cease even after you hold tension. Feet and hand wounds are more
susceptible to infection. If the cat scratches the face, then there could be
cosmetic damage like scarring. Any scratch to your eye needs a visit to the
ophthalmologist. At higher risk are individuals with compromised or weakened
immune systems. You can apply standard antibiotic cream on to the wound. Cover
it with a dry and sterile dressing. Continue until the wound heals completely.
It is important that you keep watch over the wound. Any change for the worse
needs a visit to the doctor. The signs of an infected wound include variable
changes around the wound site and increased redness. There will be swelling and
tenderness. You will feel pain when you move, and the glands will be swollen.
There could be pus drainage too. The signs of generalized body infection are
swollen glands, fever, fatigue, and body aches. Development of lymph nodes or
swollen glands within a week of the scratch indicates a bacterial infection.
Feral cat and CSD
If you get scratched by a feral cat, then follow the
identical preceding treatment but inform the local health department or animal
control. The severity of scratch and chance of it followed by a bite requires
the identification of the animal. If needed, the cat could be quarantined and
checked for many diseases like rabies. Your doctor may recommend a rabies
vaccination if the animal control personnel cannot entrap the cat. You may also
have to get a tetanus shot if you did not have one during the last ten years.
The most severe disease
associated with cat scratches is Cat Scratch Disease (CSD). It is caused by the
Bartonella bacteria which gets transmitted to cats from an infected flea bite.
You can also suffer from CSD if your Bartonella infected cat licks your open
wound. Visit the hospital immediately.