Bit by stray

okok

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I was up late at night and saw a stray cat outside. I thought I'd give it some food in a dish, which I did. Coming back a few minutes later I saw the cat ate the food and I love cats so I thought I'd give her more. As I was going to set some more food down in the bowel I saw the cat was sitting in the shadows just a few feet away. I wondered if it was friendly and (made a poor decision) held out the food for it to take from my hand. Well it seemed pretty excited about more food and walked over but instead of licking the food up and gnawing at it like I expected, it bit at it with no care for my hand underneath. It ended up biting my finger. Of course it didn't intentionally hurt be but I was bleeding. I wasn't sure what to do so I quickly ran to the sink and washed my finger. Then I got an ice cube and held it on the small penetration ( it didn't hurt but I thought it might help) The gash isn't more than a centimeter and isn't very deep either. I don't want rabies but I don't know how realistic that would be either. The cat seemed normal. It was timid and very hungry. What should I do?
 

otto

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Go immediately to an ER and tell them you were bit by a stray cat. You need to have the shots, unless the cat can be found, captured, and euthanized and tested. You will also need antibiotics and possibly a tetanus shot.

Don't fool around with this, it is very serious.
 
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Willowy

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Where do you live? Rabies is more common in some places than others. Even in some areas in the US, they may not automatically give you a rabies shot if the cat wasn't acting weird.

If you can catch the cat and keep it somewhere indoors for 10-14 days, if it's still alive at the end of the 2 weeks it wasn't shedding rabies when it bit you. This is an option if you can find and catch the cat and don't want it killed for testing.
 

di and bob

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I have been bit very deeply many times over the years. The cat sounds like it was acting normal, it was excited. I would keep feeding it for two weeks to make sure everything is OK, if it starts acting abnormal, or aggressive, then seek a Dr. There is an incubation period for rabies so you have time. The chances that you have rabies is just slightly better then winning the lottery. If I got bit by a bat or a wild animal I would be much more concerned. DON"T look up rabies on the internet, it scares you, believe me, I know! People VERY RARELY die from rabies anymore,the odds are with  you being fine, so although the safest thing would be to contact your Dr,. ultimately it's up to YOU to make the decision. It would be prudent to make him aware of it in case you have to come in later.He may suggest a blood test later to determine if you have to go through the injections. All the luck, I'll pray for you! I know how much it worried me when I got bit and then the cat disappeared!
 

piano cat

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Holy crap, a centimetre gash on one of my fingers could go right through.  Please visit a hospital ER or your own Doctor right away.  I attended a medical seminar on treating bite wounds.  The Doctor said dog bites tend mostly to be more of a scrape and if they are fresh they mostly just clean them.  Cats, while having spaced out teeth like dogs and thus harbouring fewer germs than humans, tend to bite deeper and any germs are then put deeper into the flesh, the flesh might close over and those germs are more likely to multiply with a cat bite so cat bites are always treated aggressively.  Human bites, he said, are scrapes or they are deep but not as deep as a cat's but human teeth are close together and have more germs so they are treated aggressively too.
 

otto

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In 10-14 days while the cat is kept quarantined the OP could be dead. Around here at least, it is a high risk. I'd get the shots.

The ER is needed for the bite wound itself, regardless of the rabies risk. I was recently (3 weeks) badly bitten by one of my own cats and the wounds are still very tender, after 2 weeks of antibiotics and daily soaking.

But I wouldn't want to risk my own life regarding rabies.
 
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msaimee

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I've had two deep cat bite wounds in my life--in fact, one occurred just recently. When you go to an urgent care center or ER, they'll give you a tetanus shot if yours isn't up-to-date, and a script for Augmentin for 10 days (which is a strong antibiotic) or some other antibiotic. They'll likely have you fill out a form, and then you'll get a letter from the health department advising you to watch the cat for 10 days and report to them if the cat is acting strangely. They won't automatically send you for rabies shots, because the chance of you having gotten rabies from a cat is so remote (I think it's only happened a few times in America in decades). There is no need to panic. You'll need to get an antibiotic because 50% of cat bites get infected (both of mine did, within a day)--they are puncture wounds, so they go deeper than external cleaning can reach. The antibiotics may give you diarrhea. Just follow the advice of whatever doctor you see, and you'll be fine.   
 
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otto

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@msaimee and then you'll get a letter from the health department advising you to watch the cat for 10 days and report to them if the cat is acting strangely
.

This is for a known cat with a known vaccination status. Not an unknown stray. I know that rabies is alive and well in PA so you may want to check on these procedures the've probably been updated, and if they haven't they should be. Where I live, rabies is also a serious concern and is never taken lightly.

A bite from an unknown cat (or any other animal) anywhere in the USA warrants the rabies shots. We're talking about life vs death here. There is not much time to "wait and see". Rabies is fatal 100 % of the time.
 
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msaimee

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The decision of whether or not someone undergoes the rabies vaccination series is determined by a doctor.

okok, I hope you'll see a doctor if you haven't done so already, and follow whatever treatment and protocol s/he gives you, and let us know how you are doing.
 

piano cat

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Came back to add, this will vary by the health regulations where you live, but here an animal bite must be reported by the Doctor to the local Health Unit or Health of Animals of our Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, or both.  A neighbour was told last year she either HAD to undergo rabies shots or give up the name of the dog who bit her and the name of it's owners.  
 

yummy520

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I had this same horrible problem when I got my first feral. If you go to the auth, they will kill the animal, or quarantine it for too long for you to financially afford. My answer was to call animal control in my area and question the amount of active rabies cases at that exact time. It was zero for over eight months. This told me that whatever bite my cat that bit me probably was not rabid. I took a chance and monitored the cats behavior closely for months. Not an easy thing, but had a plan of easy capture in the event that the animal did show signs of rabies. Since the cat would show signs before I would, if I'd contracted rabies, there would be time for me to get vaccinated. What a stressful period to go through, but with prayer and gathering of much accurate information, my cat and I are doing great!
 
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