October 2013 Issue

How to Avoid Those Sharp Feline Bites

No doubt they’re painful, but deep puncture wounds pose the greater threat of serious bacterial infections

Cat bites don’t get as much media coverage — or as much scientific attention — as dog bites because they tend to occur inside the home. Moreover, people mistakenly assume that, because cats are small, they can’t do much damage. In fact, puncture wounds made by sharp feline teeth are not only painful, they can lead to serious infections. It’s important to learn how to avoid them. Although cats sometimes appear to attack out of the blue, they always have their reasons, says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, Ph.D., emeritus professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. “Fear, predatory aggression, and pain top the list.

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