More than 4 million Americans every year fall victim to dog bites, most of them children below the age of five. However, while dog bites, especially those involving mail carriers and children make headlines frequently, you don't hear as much about cat bites. That's in spite of the fact that cat bites, even though they are rarer than dog bites, can be just as, or even more dangerous.
According to new research that was conducted recently by Mayo Clinic, cat bites are much rarer than dog bites, but can be very dangerous. Feline jaws are smaller compared to dogs, and may not seem as powerful. The danger in a cat’s bite comes from those tiny teeth. According to Mayo Clinic researchers, those teeth can release bacteria deep into your body, affecting tissue quickly, and creating breeding grounds for an infection.
Cat bites very often result in infections, and according to the researchers, compared to dog bites, cat bites, although they are much less common, are much more likely to result in hospitalization. According to the Mayo Clinic study, which was conducted over a period of three years, one out of every three patients who suffered a cat bite actually had to be admitted into the hospital. Approximately 2/3rd of hospitalized patients who were injured after a cat bite, needed surgery as part of their treatment.
The study also found a difference in the profile of victims of cat bites, compared to dog bites. Middle-aged women were found to be much more likely to be bitten by a cat, compared to other age groups.
According to the researchers, it is not as if cats pack more bacteria in their mouths which cause infections. It is that they have much sharper teeth that can quickly inject the bacteria deep into your body tissue, resulting in infections spreading much more quickly than in the case of a dog bite.