Two Reasons Why Your Feline Friend's Mouth Poses A Cat-Astrophic Threat To Your Health
Your cat's mouth may appear small and harmless, but it can cause you to become very sick. It is home to allergy-triggering proteins and life-threatening bacteria colonies.
One in ten people are allergic to cats. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the cat's hair that triggers allergies, but a protein found in feline saliva, dander, and even urine. This protein, identified as "Fel d 1," is microscopic, lightweight, and sticky.
If you are allergic to cats, you probably wonder why your symptoms flare up even when you purposefully avoid interacting with cats. You can blame the lightweight and sticky properties of this protein. These characteristics allow the protein to linger and daintily drift through the air until sticking to carpets, upholstery, and walls. It can even attach to a person's clothing, relocating it to wherever the wearer goes, including the workplace, school, and friends' houses.
Children are more commonly affected by this feline protein, but symptoms can develop at any time in your life. Symptoms can be mild or severe, ranging from sneezing, itching, and wheezing to hives and asthmatic flare-ups. You can significantly reduce mild symptoms by diligently bathing your cat, cleaning your home with a HEPA-filtered vacuum, and investing in an air purifier. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, however; if they are more severe, you can suffer from a life-threatening asthma attack. Your doctor might suggest taking allergy shots to minimize your symptoms.
As far as animal bites go, dogs get a bad rap. Dog bites can be life-threatening, but did you know that cat bites can be just as dangerous?
Cat bites are potentially life-threatening, but for different reasons. A cat's mouth hosts a thriving community of bacteria; when a cat bites you, those sharp teeth create small but significant puncture wounds that transfer and trap this bacteria beneath your skin's surface. Cat bites are more likely to grow infected than dogs bites, and left untreated, your injury can make you severely ill.
One type of bacteria, called "Pasteurella," lives in the mouths of nearly all domestic cats. If your cat bites you and transfers Pasteruella, the wound site will quickly become painful, swollen, and inflamed. The infection rapidly progresses; left untreated, you can develop septic arthritis, meningitis, and chronic inflammation.
Cat scratch fever is also transmitted through the feline bite. This disease is not restricted to scratches alone. If your cat transmits this bacteria to you through a bite, you will develop a small lump at the wound site and experience symptoms like fever, nausea, chills, and fatigue.
You can also contract rabies, leptospirosis, selmonella, and streptococcus infections from a cat bite. These diseases are less common, but still severe in nature. Thus, if you fall victim to a cat bite, you should always schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor like one from Summit View Clinic, who can prescribe penicillin or other antibiotics.