A new study published in the Journal of Hand Surgery reveals that even a harmless bite for your cat may be dangerous as it could inject bacteria deep into the joints and tissue, providing a perfect breeding ground to the parasites.
The study was conducted by researchers at The Mayo Clinic who found that around 193 patients of cat bites on their hand over a period of three years. Around 57 required hospitalization for at least three days of which 38 needed their wounds surgically flushed out and the infected tissue removed, with some of them even requiring reconstruction surgery.
The researchers added that middle-aged women were at a greater risk of such infection, with 69 percent of the patients being women with an average age of 49 years.
"Dogs' teeth are blunter, so they don't tend to penetrate as deeply and they tend to leave a larger wound after they bite. Cats' teeth are sharp and they can penetrate very deeply, they can seed bacteria in the joint and tendon sheaths. It can be just a pinpoint bite mark that can cause a real problem, because the bacteria get into the tendon sheath or into the joint where they can grow with relative protection from the blood and immune system. Cat bites look very benign, but as we know and as the study shows, they are not. They can be very serious", lead researcher Dr Brian Carlsen said.