Cats and their owners frequently engage in rough play, including biting, scratching, and other physical contact. While they might be adorable right now, such playful bites could have negative long-term effects.
Scratching, biting, and other forms of rough play are all too common between cats and their owners. But while they may be cute now, those playful bites could lead to serious consequences later on down the road. In fact, a cat scratch disease is one thing you'll want to avoid at all costs! If you're wondering how it works and what pet medication you can take to protect your feline friend from contracting this bacterial infection, we've got answers right here.
Avoid Rough Play
It’s important to play with your cat. Play can be a form of exercise, helping your pet stay healthy and alert. It can also help cats socialize with other cats and people, which may even prevent some behavior issues down the road.
When you play with your cat, try to avoid rough play, such as biting or scratching her tail or ears, poking her eyes, or pulling her fur out in clumps. This kind of roughhousing could lead to a bite from the cat being hurt by you, which could cause infection in humans if they get injured during the game (the bacteria are often present in the mouth of infected animals).
Keep Your Cat Indoors
Keeping your cat indoors is one of the best ways to prevent the transmission of cat scratch disease. Cats are at risk for fleas, which can transmit the Bartonella bacteria that causes cat scratch disease. This happens when a cat comes into contact with an infected flea and ingests it while grooming itself or scratching its fur. Ensure that the cat is either wearing a flea collar for cats or is regularly given flea and tick medicine.
The other way that cats can get fleas is from other infected cats or from outside sources like rodents and birds. Fleas thrive in warm weather, so that's why they usually peak during the summer months.
Get Your Cat Tested For Bartonella Bacteria
If your cat is showing signs of FIV or FeLV, it's important to get him tested for Bartonella bacteria. The blood test will determine if the pet is positive for the bacteria that causes cat scratch disease. If so, there are two options:
Monitor Behavioural Changes
If you notice that your cat is behaving differently, this could be a sign of a disease. In cats, signs include:
Losing weight and not eating well
Crying at night when they usually sleep
Sticking out their tongue or acting like they can't see properly
If you’re concerned about your pet, tell your vet what kind of treatment and pet medicines might suit them best.
You should use a soft brush or comb to groom your cat. Never try to groom your cat with your own nails, as this can lead to scratches. Don’t use scissors or razors, as they can also cause cuts and scrapes. If you do need to cut out fleas or ticks, do so carefully and away from the head of your cat. Using a pair of pluckers works best. Grooming your cat is important for their overall health and well-being.
Don't Expose Your Cat To Fleas
The first step to preventing cat scratch disease is to make sure your cat doesn't have fleas. The primary carrier of Bartonella is the flea, which has been found in the cats' fur and in their homes. This means you should always check your cat's fur for fleas, especially if they spend much time outdoors or in other places where they can encounter them. If you find that your cat has fleas, use a topical flea medicine for cats that will destroy the fleas on their bodies and prevent them from returning to your home again (these products usually come with instructions on how often you should reapply).
If you're worried about getting rid of all those potential carriers (pets included), we recommend taking action immediately: once an infection starts taking hold, it can become difficult for doctors to treat successfully, so prevention is key.
With proper care, cats can live a long and healthy life. Here’s to many more years of purring and scratching (you, not themselves!).