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Have you ever been bitten by a cat?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
The thread asking about cat bites (click here) has gotten me curious about others' experiences being bitten (or not) by cats.

1) How many of you have been around cats for years & never been bitten hard enough to break the skin?

For those of you who have suffered a bite or bites that broke the skin:

What were the circumstances?

2) Was it in handling a cat that was not your own pet, such as a stray or feral, or a frightened cat in a shelter or vet clinic?

3) Was it in handling a sexually mature unneutered male?

4) Was it when handling your own pet during a time of stress, such as at the vet or trying to break up a cat fight, or when the cat was visibly upset, ill, or injured?

5) Did your own spayed or neutered pet cat become annoyed, warn you, then bite?

6) Did your own spayed or neutered pet cat bite you without warning?

Did the cat have claws, or had it been declawed? (Please - no declaw debates - I'm simply curious, as some say it may be a factor in biting)


Even though I've been around cats all my life, I've only been bitten hard enough to break the skin once,as posted in the other thread. Of course I've gotten my share of scratches, especially as a child learning the subtleties of feline body language.

Though I do own a cat who has a tendency to bite (she came to me as an adult cat abandoned by neighbors), she has never bitten hard enough to break the skin. If she becomes annoyed with me & I don't stop whatever I'm doing that's annoying her (such as trimming her nails) after she gives a couple of warning meows, she'll grab my hand in her teeth and hold it there gently as a signal she's reached the limits of her patience. And she always gives plenty of warning before biting.

Oreo will grab my hand with his mouth and hold it gently if I touch his belly too much, but he gives warning by laying his ears flat and a wild look in his eyes, and over the years he's become more tolerant of being touched there (and he's never bitten hard enough to break the skin). He also came into my life as an adult cat, belonging to my DH.

No other cat I've had in my life (even my little feral) has ever shown any tendency to bite - they'll warn you, then scratch if the warnings are ignored...biting is a last resort. I don't know if it's made a difference or not, but we've never had a declawed cat.

I've caught and handled a few ferals before, but very carefully - using a trap, a lot of caution, patience and heavy gloves if they're very wound up, and have never suffered a skin-breaking bite. I haven't been on the front lines of treating ferals like rescuers & vets are - if that were the case, I might have gotten more bites.

post #2 of 43
I had to vote "other", because I was bitten by "my own feral" cat.
Straycat was a member of a feral colony for about eight years, and never became really "tame". The colony was dissolved due to construction, and the cats were trapped, with the exception of Straycat, who moved into our yard, then our garage, and then gradually into our cellar (and occasionally went upstairs, but would only stay there in very cold weather). I had him neutered (not declawed) after we took him in. Although I eventually got him to eat in his carrier so that I could get him to a vet, there were two occasions before then when I absolutely had to get him vet care (abscessed teeth and a broken tail), so I caught him using a blanket and shoved him in the carrier. When he had to be taken in for his teeth, he bit me in the leg when I was trying to put him in the carrier. He definitely warned me by hissing and growling. Only one tooth managed to break the skin (I was wearing jeans). I washed out the deep puncture wound right away, and applied Betadine, but still ended up in the ER with a fever and swelling that evening. It took six months of antibiotics for the infection to clear up, and I have a permanent "hole" caused by the resulting necrosis.
The vet had to remove all the teeth on one side of his mouth due to infection, BTW. I think under the circumstances the bite was understandable.
post #3 of 43
I voted "no, not hard enough to break skin". Any cats we have ever had have only nipped me or other people. It hasn't happened in a long time though. Our cat is declawed (his previous owners had it done), so actually it surprises me that he never did more biting.
post #4 of 43
I have been bitten by my cat both playing and seriously. I have been bitten by "outside" cats both male and females. Only a few times has my skin been broken though. Most of them were just warnings LOL
post #5 of 43
For those of you who have suffered a bite or bites that broke the skin:

What were the circumstances?

It was almost two years ago I had a stray cat appear in July. I started feeding him but my other cats didn't like him so he stayed in the garage. However I would let him in the basement when I was painting my siding for the garden shed. I would paint about an hour before work and a couple hours in the evening. Tommie like the basement but I couldn't keep him in the basement as that is where my litter boxes are. He didn't like when I would pick him up and put him back in the garage. The morning I got bit I didn't open the door all the way because the siding was stacked for drying. I only opened the door about 18 inches and pushed him out and that is when he turned and bit me.

Was it in handling a sexually mature unneutered male?
Tommie was not neutered at this time.

Was it when handling your own pet during a time of stress, such as at the vet or trying to break up a cat fight, or when the cat was visibly upset, ill, or injured?

I really don't know if he was stressed by my actions.

Did your own spayed or neutered pet cat become annoyed, warn you, then bite?

About 6 months after he bit me he was shot in the leg. I had that leg amputated and he was also neutered. Tommie was determined to "run around" outside so about 3 weeks after surgery I let him out and he was checking out the bushes. I wanted him to go back in the garage. He lost his balance and nipped me again. It was not a puncture as the 1st time. In hindsight I should have let him alone.

Did the cat have claws, or had it been declawed? (Please - no declaw debates - I'm simply curious, as some say it may be a factor in biting)
None of my cats are declawed.

As I have posted before. I had to take Tommie to my vet office where they held him 10 days for observation as I don't know if he had a rabies shot. My forearm swelled up and I was on antibiotics for 10 days-I am allergic to penecillin so the doc couldn't give me the usual treatment for cat bites. I had no complications from the bite.
post #6 of 43
Ailey bit me today at the vets office they were giving her shots and she already wasn't feeling well and was really stressing because they kept "messing" with her. when they gave her her first shot she turned and bit but it happened to be my hand that was in the way
the doc washed it and but some antibiotic ointment on it and that was that
its sore but isn't red and swollen or anything. she was suprised and scared. baaaaaddddd combo for my kitty
post #7 of 43
For those of you who have suffered a bite or bites that broke the skin:

What were the circumstances?

3) Was it in handling a sexually mature unneutered male?
Yes. I have been bitten badly (enough to break the skin) by my unneutered male stud cat, Tonka four times. Each time, he did give a warning, but I was either too unschooled in knowing his nature to recognize the warning or wasn't focused enough to heed it. Two of the events occurred after I had cleaned the stud enclosure, once was when he inadvertantly escaped the stud enclosure and my queen was in estrus, and the fourth time was when he was a kitten and the neighbor's cat was on my porch looking in at him through the screened door.

Did the cat have claws, or had it been declawed? (Please - no declaw debates - I'm simply curious, as some say it may be a factor in biting)
Tonka is not declawed.
post #8 of 43
I came home from work one very hot afternoon to find a feral kitten entangled in a clematis vine in back of my house. He obviously climbed up the vine, slipped down and his leg got caught tight. It appeared that the more he struggled to get free, the tighter he was entwined.

I first tried to untangle him, then grabbed the clippers to cut him free. In the process, I had to use 2 hands so couldn't scruff hold him to keep him calm. He bit hard enough to break skin. Once he was free, the little bugger got away from me and ran under the porch. 4 hours later, I tempted him out with food, brought him to the vets (he couldn't use his back leg). He limped for about a year after the incident (and of course he moved into the house with his brother that I also caught).

The vet suggested keeping him isolated to ensure he didn't have rabies - a simple precaution cause 1) he was very young, and 2) there hadn't been a case of rabies reported in the county for 10 years.

My husband was bit hard one time and got cat scratch fever from it. I was fortunate to not contract it.
post #9 of 43
I was bitten trying to pill Missy. She got me good which warranted a trip to the Doctor, a tetanus shot and antibiotics. Not fun.
post #10 of 43
I've been bitten countless times while volunteering at the animal shelter. We usually have 80 to 100 adult cats in the cat room and sunporch, and for some of them, that's just more company than they can handle. They get hyperalert and overreact to every stimulus. I've never been bitten just out of the blue, though -- it's always happened when I'm trying to check an injury, trim out some mats, break up a catfight, or take a kitty to the vet room.

Biting happens more often with the cats who are kept in cages, partly because some of them are IN the cages BECAUSE they've bitten someone... and partly, I think, because they feel so trapped in there.

Anyway, I've been lucky, I guess -- never an infection that I couldn't handle with Neosporin.

The worst bite I've ever seen happened to my brother some years ago. He saw a kitten limping around his apartment building and tried to pick it up and see what was wrong. The tiny little baby bit right through my brother's thumbnail, leaped free, and ran for it! Because the kitten was never found and rabies is not at all uncommon here, my brother had to undergo a series of shots just in case.

But being, as he was then, a boneheaded, bullet-proof 22-year-old male, my brother got tired of shelling out the money for the shots, and he never completed the series! He didn't tell us until later, or we would, of course, have dragged him down there and paid the money. ~ sigh ~

Thank goodness, my brother is now 43 and considerably smarter than he was then. :-)
post #11 of 43
No,not by a cat. I was bitten over a year ago by a friends deaf dog, a german pointer BTW. I guess I surprised him and he lunged. I had a horrible bruise on my arm. Where is canine tooth was I still have a mark. His upper teeth gave me a nice scrape. I had been around the dog before and never had a problem. I had to go to the ER the next day to get a tetanus shot, and they wouldn't give it to me unless I gave info on the dog, so the dog had to be reported to the local dog warden and was taken into custody. What an ordeal! The owners initially said the dog was going to be put down by them, but they never did it.
post #12 of 43
Tinsel bit me several times. But I don't remember the circumstances. So we'll just say they happened between the ages of 2 and 5 so I probably deserved it and she probably warned me!
post #13 of 43
I've only had the skin broken maybe two or three times, and it was all while working with the soc cats at Treehouse. Not a big deal...washed it out, put some ointment on it, went on my merry little way.

Leo will occassionally take a little love nip at me, but he has never broken the skin, nor has he attempted to. Lola just never bites people. Neither of them scratch or attack intentionally, so I'm lucky.

I DID get attackced by a dog whose owners hadn't bothered to give it any shots, within 2 years of a known rabies case. So I HAVE had rabies shots before.
post #14 of 43
I've got a noticable purple scar on my thumb courtesy of Wiggies. He was being chased by a dog when I picked him up to rescue him though, so poor guy was pretty stressed out. I forgave him, even though my thumb swelled up twice it's size and I had to have a course of antibiotics.
No rabies shots for me though, thank goodness!
my brother got tired of shelling out the money for the shots, and he never completed the series!
You mean you have to pay for them yourself!! It's a matter of public health & safety - it should be mandatory and state funded!
post #15 of 43
I voted no and yes.
I've never been bitten enough to break the skin.Blaze kind of mouthed me when I checked her incision after her spay.
But, my kids have gotten nipped by Blaze when we first got her and she was scared.She did break the skin, and I cleaned it out really good and put Neosporin on it.
Blaze is not declawed, so she'll scratch you if you make her mad by holding her when she doesn't want to be.
post #16 of 43
I voted no. But sometimes Mitts can peel a bit of the upper layer of my skin off while play biting or being fiesty in general. I have never bled, though.
post #17 of 43
I've been bitten hard enough to do serious damage on two separate occasions. The situations were very similar. Both involved my own cats, but way back when they were still kittens and still feral. In both cases, they got stuck someplace and were screaming bloody murder. And I went to free them without thinking first and covering their heads with a towel and/or protecting my hands. I paid for it. One bite was on the inside of my pinky finger, all the way to the bone. I did manage to avoid infection by soaking it in a 50% chlorine bleach solution for 15 minutes, but the finger was sore and swollen for over a month because the bone was bruised. The other time was in the middle of the night and I didn't realize how severely I'd been bitten until the next morning. I did get a localized infection that made the resulting scar a lot bigger than it probably would have been, but otherwise it was no big deal.

Bottom line is that both times, if I'd been using my head it never would have happened!

I've also been bitten by feral kittens a couple of times, hard enough to break the skin but not enough to do any real damage. The funniest of these was the time a kitten bit me on the nipple. Didn't hurt nearly as much as I would have expected it to, but it took me 15 minutes to stop laughing!

As for bites that didn't break the skin, I've had a ton of these for just about every imaginable reason!
post #18 of 43
I've been bitten by my boyfriend's cat. When I picked him up, he wasn't happy about it, but he bit me before I could put him down. I still have scars from that one. My kitties will occasionally bite in play. One is very gently while the other has some seriously sharp teeth. Do you count being bitten while giving pills?
post #19 of 43
I did forget to mention that I got a pretty nasty clawing! It's an odd story, but basically my couch is right next to the banister for the basement. Rocky was sitting on the back of the couch, I went to pick him up, and he decided he was going to jump off the banister. I grabbed him under the shouders, but not that firmly! His hands were on my wrists, and most of his weight was concentrated on one claw, which was imbedded in my arm! Can you say nasty purple bruise. I iced it down right away!
post #20 of 43
The first time I was protecting my own cat, Emily, from a near-fight with another kitty that somehow got into our house when the door opened. She clamped down on my index finger (just out of fear/ adrenaline rush), and broke the skin. I'm an RN, so I knew to instantly flush the area w/ Hydrogen Peroxide, but later that night my whole hand had swelled up and was soooooo painful! Went to ER, required minor sugery to remove her kitty bacteria from my joint capsule , and had to stay over night for 2 days on IV antibiotics, because her bacteria was in my blood, and I had a high fever. I still can't straighten my finger out all the way, and I have a small scar. But it wasn't Emily's fault, so I never punished her or anything, of course!!

A few years later I was helping a friend give his newly adopted cat some medication, and the tooth barely grazed my hand. It did not draw blood, but made a scrape. The next day I had a thick red line going all the way from the cat bite to my underarm, indicating blood poisoning. Went to the ER, and this time I had to stay at the hospital 3 nights.

Mind you, I am a healthy 28 yr. old!!! Maybe I'm just very sensitive to kitty bacteria, or maybe my 1st infection made me more prone to getting a 2nd one- but cat bites can be TERRIBLE, so watch out!! After sharing my experience w/ people I've heard lots of other stories- one lady had to get a finger amputated because she waited too long to go to the hospital. So, if you get bit, better safe than sorry- go get it looked at if it shows any signs of infection: pain, swelling, redness, discharge.

post #21 of 43
i was just bitten by my unnewtered male cat and he broke the skin bad,had to spend 5 days in hospital, now i have 3 wks of being at home doing my own IV's
post #22 of 43
8 years ago, I was a new vet tech and holding a cat for a water enema. The cat had enough and reached up with its back claws and dug them into my hand, forcing me to let go. He then turned around and proceeded to bite my hand 6 times. It HURT! It swelled up twice it's normal size and turned beet red. I had to go on antibiotics for 2 weeks, and hold it up in the air as much as possible to prevent excruciating throbbing. Needless to say, I have gotten better at restraint, but they're so fast, it takes you by surprise sometimes. I also got bit once by my own cat, Cajun, while anesthetizing him for a dental...it was just a graze but it hurt too!
post #23 of 43
I was bitten by Muffin 3 different times when she had the last UTI trying to pill her. All three times I washed the wounds with hot soapy water and poured hydrogen peroxide on them and I never had a problem. Muffin has not been declawed and has been sprayed.
post #24 of 43
I was bitten by Izzie's mother but it was partially my fault. She was a stray cat who had a litter of kittens and my sister was fostering them in her house. Two days after the cat was in the house, I fed a piece of ham lunchmeat to the cat from my hand. This cat was used to being outside and hunting it's own food. When I wiggled my thumb, the cat bit into it. I think the cat thought my hand was food for some reason. Otherwise, the cat was very friendly and showed no signs of aggression. Anyway, it hurt really bad and within 2 hours the entire thumb was red and swollen. I went to the doctor and got a shot.
post #25 of 43
I've been bitten by my own cats alot. the worse time was when my 10 month old Siamese slipped out the door on to my porch which at the time was apartment shared by another neighbor. Just as I was getting my cat back the neighbor opened the door and out ran his big Greman Shepard. Well no way was I going to let go of my cat.. She was terrified and she dug my whole chest up and I had at least 15 puncture bites through my hands. I got her inside. And did it hurt I was shaking it hurt so bad. I had to go to the ER for a tetnus shot and to get the bites cleaned and on antibiotics.
I had a male neutered tiger cat who was a lovey cat. But boy he had a mean streak also, he would just bite for no reason.When I least expected it. I ended up with a few infected cat bites from him . Hadto spend 3 days in the hospital once on IV antibiotics.
And I have been bitten a few other times by My Siamese Yowdy hes also neutored. He does give a warning a ugly meowww but I wasn't fast enough and he got me. I love siamese cats but I have found that they often have a kinda mean streak at times. You have to be aware of it and treat them accordling.
post #26 of 43
I was fostering a semi feral girl Jill, who clawed me up and bit me. Each time, I was either trying to get her in the cat carrier or giving her worm medicine. She got dh once, too, when he held her for me so I could worm her.

I listed it as a feral bite, because it was due to her wildness in not trusting us, and our ignorance in realizing she would think her life was threatened and fight back. I didn't get an infection, she was spayed and not declawed.

I think I got bit by a cat as a child when I tried to break up a cat fight. Duh! That time, I went to the doctor and got a tetanus shot.

Although Jill and I had a few bad moments, over all she was the gentlest sweetest cat. And as soft as a bunny. She ended up being easy to crate (after feeding her in a cat carrier for months.) And I learned to worm her by mixing the medicine in her food!
post #27 of 43
A tiny , maybe 6 week old kitten that I found in my garden. When I coaxed it to some warm milk ...I reached down and picked it up. I NEVER KNEW SOMTHING SO TINY COULD HURT SOOOOO BAD! It felt like a thousand needles piercing my finger...and it would`nt let go til I shook it off. Boy did that finger bleed and get sore!
Poor kitty was just so scared. (I found the whole litter within a few hours...no mamma...so I do think someone dropped them off.)
They did tame up within a few days of being fed and we found homes for all of them except the one we kept. (Which happened to be the one that had bitten me! We named him Jaws)
post #28 of 43
I have a couple of times my female cat bites me... hehehe coz that is also becoz i am trying to wash the (Backside) due to some POO stick on the fur... and I can't stand that they are try to dirty my floor as whereever there are sitting ... so when I hold 4 legs and my wife wash their (backside) they will bite me sometimes... But that wasn't so serious...

Anyother things is my FEMALE CAT (LADY) whenever I try to feed her dewormed pills with my hand i sure will get a few bite gifts from her hehehe...
post #29 of 43
The last time I was bitten real hard when I was volunteering as a steward in a cat competition. nothin serious but juz hv 2 puncture marks on my hand(thank god not that deep due to my evasive manoevures ).
post #30 of 43
Well, my cat Perla bites me on the nose as a way of demostrating her love. She's never broken through skin though, but sometimes she gets so exited she does hurt me. Other times I'm playing and I bite her, so I think I deserve it.

Pokemon has bitten me hard a few times, and when it was in the leg he did break the skin. He was my b/f's cat, and whenever I had no clothes or bedclothes on, he'd attack. I never found out why. As soon as he saw naked skin, he'd hit, hard and fast.

I've been bitten hard by strays too, but thats part of the hazard of loving cats. I go to the doctor stright away (he's about 2 minutes from home) and get antibiotics and stuff.
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