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I've been bitten for a stray cat and I'm a patient with Rheumathoid Arthritis
govivip posted:
Like any usually day at night, I feed this cat outside, he may have a owner or not, not sure because he looks in a god shape, well, today I was petting him like other days and maybe I was to rough with him, and he started scratching me and bite me, it was so quick! I know I did something wrong or I may upset the cat in some way. I came back to home, wash my hands with water and soap, then hydrogen peroxide. My wounds look fine and healed well so far but I wonder ....Should I still report this to my doc or wait?. I love animals and I don't want them to euthanize him (usually happens) plus I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, enough disease to deal with.
Any suggestions? I'll appreciate it!

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Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
Your concerns are valid, especially with your medical condition. If you take immunosuppressant drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis, it can make you more susceptible to infection. Since your wounds are healing well, you probably have little to worry about but I would mention this to your doctor at your next visit. Unless your doctor treats you for the bite wounds, it is not necessary to report it. If your wounds show any sign of infection such as redness, swelling, or discharge, you should see your doctor immediately.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice
srstephanie responded:
Hi govivip,

I don't want to be an alarmist ... and since Dr Weigner didn't mention it, it must be a very remote possibility ... but what makes me very nervous is the possibility that the cat might have Rabies.

You mention that this is an outdoor cat and you don't know whether or not it is owned. So, the possibility exists that the cat may not have been vaccinated for Rabies. I don't know where you live nor if you are in an area where there is Rabies in the wildlife. I do know that for many years, in N America each year there have been more cases of Rabies reported in cats than in dogs ... since most dogs are vaccinated but many cats are not (and cats are natural hunters and likely to come into contact with local wildlife).

I'm sure the possibility must be remote but Rabies is nearly universally fatal once you develop symptoms, so not something you want to wait out. But there are post-exposure vaccinations for humans that are protective.

Maybe it isn't necessary ... but I would suggest that you might want to ask around the neighborhood and see if you can find the cat's owner and whether or not he has been vaccinated. If you can't find the owner, it would be helpful to see if you can trap the cat (I think the SPCA or a rescue group may have humane traps that they use for "trap-neuter-return" programs). And then put the cat in quarantine to make sure it doesn't have Rabies (I think it is a couple weeks, but your vet would know legal requirements in the area).

I'm not a vet or doctor or anything ... so, perhaps my concern is not important. But it makes me nervous when someone gets bitten by a feral or unknown outdoor cat. I'm sure that with your Rheumatoid Arthritis, you don't want to go through the post-exposure Rabies vaccinations unless necessary. But maybe you might want to, at least, talk to a local vet to see if you are in an area where there is Rabies in some of the wildlife.

I'm sure that Dr Weigner was thinking about the problem many people have when bitten by a cat ... because cats have natural bacteria in their mouths that can cause severe infection in humans when bitten. So, people need to watch for redness and soreness, etc after a bite and get treated quickly if it occurs. But it sounds like you are okay in terms of infection. But I'm still nervous about a bite from an outdoor cat with unknown Rabies vaccination history. So, I just felt a need to mention it.

Stephanie in Montreal


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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