My Indoor Cat Scratched Me, Should I Be Worried?

If you live with an indoor cat, getting scratched is almost an inevitability. Most cat scratches happen on accident and don’t pose a significant danger to your health if the proper steps are taken to clean your wound. You most likely don’t have anything to worry about. However, you will need to clean your cut and wait for it to heal. In some cases, cat scratches can lead to the human getting infected leading to serious health risks, although this is rare. This article covers what you should do if you get scratched by your indoor cat and signs that you may need to see a doctor. The writers of this article are not doctors, we have just summarized the medical advice that experts have provided and added our own experience of owning indoor cats. If you have concerns or doubts over your own health after a cat scratch go to your doctor immediately.

What should I do if my indoor cat scratches me?

After getting a scratch from an indoor cat you should immediately put your cat away so they can’t get the cut dirtier. They may try to lick your wound, but you should prevent them from doing this as they can pass on bacteria into your bloodstream this way. Run the cut under warm water and use soap to clean your hands and then the cut and the local area around it. Some medical advice panels suggest you squeeze out some blood if the cut is freely bleeding. For minor cat scratches that just break the first few layers of skin, this will be all you need to do. If you have a deeper cut that is bleeding, you can hold a clean gauze over the cut and apply pressure to reduce bleeding.

My cat scratched me and I have a bump

Scratches that stop bleeding can be treated with antibiotic creams and dry bandages until the cut heals. A bump may form around the place where you cat scratched you. The scratch might also itch. This is a sign that your cut has been infected. Mild infections can be treated at home if you are comfortable with this by keeping the cut clean and applying antibiotic creams. If your symptoms become more severe health professionals would recommend that you see a doctor.  If your cat scratched your eyes, you should immediately go to a doctor for treatment.  

Are scratches from indoor cats dangerous?

The majority of cat scratches are superficial and will heal by themselves after a couple of weeks if you keep it clean. Scratches from indoor cats have a lower risk of passing on diseases as they are less likely to be carrying disease as they don’t explore the outdoors. However, the risk of getting a serious infection isn’t reduced to zero. Indoor cats’ claws can pick up dirt and bacteria when they walk through dirty floors in the house and dig through their litter box. Cats can also pass on cat scratch disease which they originally get from flea bites and flea droppings. Its still possible for indoor cats to get fleas if you bring them into the house. Cat scratch disease is uncomfortable for humans. Symptoms can include fevers, headaches, and tiredness. In rarer cases, cat scratch disease can cause serious health complications and need extensive medical care to treat.

Indoor cats are less likely to carry diseases like rabies or tetanus, especially if they have been correctly vaccinated. Keep an eye on your cut and how you feel to decide if you need to get professional medical assistance.

How to know if a cat scratch is bad?

The first most obvious sign of your cat scratch needing additional medical care is if it continues to bleed. If your cat has scratched you and the cut is bleeding a lot, you should place a clean gauze pad over the cut after cleaning it and then apply pressure. If it continues to bleed after this, you may need to go to a medical professional for them to treat the cut.

The second reason a cat scratch could need medical attention is if the cut becomes infected. If this happens, the area around the cut can become inflamed and itchy.  Symptoms of cat scratch disease can appear three to fourteen days after you get scratched by your cat. You could experience a range of symptoms including a fever. You should see your doctor if this happens and if they think that cat scratch disease is the cause you will be given a course of antibiotics to take.