Cat Scratch Disease: Are You At Risk?

cat scratch diseaseHave you ever heard of Cat Scratch Fever? (No, not the hit song by rocker Ted Nugent, but the actual disease, also known as Cat Scratch Disease!)

After doing a bit of reading on the web site, I gathered a bit of information, and as it turns out humans really must worry!

Cat Scratch Disease is a bacterial infection spread by cats. Approximately 40% of all cats carry the disease at some point in their lives, and most show no signs of illness.  Cats contract the infection from flea bites and flea “dirt”  getting under their nails and/or between their teeth.

How does it spread from cats to humans? Well, when a cat licks a person’s open wound or bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin, a primary entryway has been created to let this nasty bacteria go to work inside your body. (Are you grossed out yet?).  Kittens under a year of age are often infected and may transmit the disease to humans while playing.

Within three to 14 days after the skin has been broken, a mild infection can occur at the site of the scratch or bite. The area that has been infected can present as swollen and red with round, raised lesions. Additionally, pus (please excuse me while I gag!) may be present. The infection may feel warm and painful. The person with Cat Scratch Disease may also exhibit other symptoms, such as a fever, headache, poor appetite and exhaustion.

How do you avoid this happening? Be sure to thoroughly wash any cat bites or scratches well with soap and running water. If you have wounds on your body, do not allow your cat to lick them.

If you develop any of these symptoms and suspect it may be a result of your cat licking a wound or scratching/biting you, be sure to contact your doctor immediately!

This post originally appeared on our sister site,

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.