The visible wounds from cat bites tend to be fairly small and not nearly as gruesome-looking as the wounds from dog bites. This can lead people to assume that cat bites lack the potential to be very harmful. Such an assumption would be wrong.
One of the major health risks that can go along with cat bites are infections. The puncture-like nature that cat bites generally have can make them particularly effective at injecting infection-causing bacteria into a person. Infections caused by cat bites can have serious effects on a person; in some circumstances, they can even lead to a person needing to undergo surgery.
A recent study underscores the potentially serious nature of cat bites. The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic, focused on 193 individuals who suffered a cat bite on their hand and ended up seeking out treatment for the bite. During the study, around a third of these cat bite victims ended up getting into a serious enough condition that they required a hospital stay. Of the cat bite victims that required a hospital stay, around two-thirds ultimately needed surgery in relation to infections they suffered from the bite.
If a person has suffered infections or other harm from being bitten by a cat that belonged to someone else, they may have options for seeking compensation. Pet owners who engage in negligence in relation to their pets that leads to another person getting bitten or attacked may be held liable for the harm the attack or bite caused.
Source: USA Today, “A cat bite can turn into a hospital stay, study says,” Mary Bowerman, Feb. 9, 2014