I have to admit I've had lots of experience with cat bites. For 18 years, I lived with a cat who slept with me every night and would sink every tooth and claw into my arm if I moved the wrong way. And then there was the damaging sneak attack by a pet sitting cat. I still pet sit for her, although she terrifies me.
Having read Dr. Schelling's article, I realize I should have taken those bites more seriously, and in the future, I will. But I also believe the best cure for a cat bite, like anything else, is prevention.
Seven 'Catspeak' Words You Need To Know To Prevent Cat Bites
- Twitching tail. This is your cat's way of saying, "I'm getting annoyed." It's best to pay attention and just leave him alone.
- Trashing tail. Your cat's beyond annoyed now, and you need to quickly but calmly get out of harm's way.
- A direct, unblinking stare. And if you stare a cat in the eye, he'll think you're about to attack!
- Pulled back ears. Or, an angry cat's ears may be upright, with the backs angled slightly forward.
- Huge, dilated pupils.
- Showing teeth.
- Arched back.
- Raised hair on the cat's back and tail.
An Ounce Of Prevention Can Ward Off Cat Bites
-- Never corner a cat or cut off his escape route. A cat who feels trapped will attack.
- -- Don't approach a cat who's telling you he's angry or frightened. Either calmly and quietly move away, or stand perfectly still until he loses interest and leaves. Remember, cats seem to have infinite patience, and it could take the cat several minutes to get bored and think of something else to do.
-- Never pick your cat up against his will, even if you need to get him into a carrier to go to the vet. Unless your cat is very sick, it's better to miss the appointment than get bitten. You can try again another day.
-- Teach young children to never chase a cat, pull his tail or touch him when he's not in the mood.
-- If your cat leaps out of dark corners to grab your leg, say his name when you're approaching his usual hiding spots, or toss some toys or treats to take his attention away from you.