That time a cat scratch got the better of me.

Cats. I love them. They are part of my life, and partly the reason for the name of this blog. I have owned and cared for cats for all of my adult life, and had cats in my childhood, one way or another. I have learned how to give them medicine, groom them and manage them. I have been bitten and scratched but never usually badly. Until this week.  A cat scratch got the better of me.

Our younger cat, Jasper, is rather notorious, gets into fights on the regular, and we now call our vet when he wanders home with wounds that tell me that the other cat is probably in just as bad shape, and the vet says are signs that he is the provocateur of any fight he gets into and the vet nurse now knows us VERY well, and before I even say anything will say “Jasper again?”. He has needed stitches a few times, and wound glue, antibiotics and pain meds. It’s a thing we deal with now. I have a whole cat medication pharmacy at home, but if I am worried, I take him to the vet. We do have pet insurance, to cover most of our claims and he is doggedly putting it to the test.

So when he staggered in this week with a gash on his face and a messy looking eye, I knew it was vet visit time. We bundled him off to be seen, and it turns out he had gashed his eye, and needed another round of pain medication, eye drops and antibiotics.

We roll with it. 

Actually we usually need two people to give him his medication. He weighs nearly 7kg, and is a big cat. He has sharp claws, and he DOES NOT LIKE taking his medicine, even if he deserves it. We swaddle him, and one of us holds him and the other gets whatever is needed into him. It’s a two man job and we have to be fast and efficient.

So when I foolishly decided that I was going to give him his pain medication and antibiotics by myself, I should have known better.

I grabbed him, swaddled him and went to administer the drugs. He decided he didn’t like this, and gave me a swipe with his front paws. His claw caught the nail bed of my finger, and it hurt, and I yelled, and let him go.

I thought nothing of it, washed the wound thoroughly and covered it in antibacterial cream and a plaster.

But when I woke up the next day, I realized he had well and truly got revenge for all the times I had swaddled him and stuff pills down his throat.

My finger was swollen, the area around my nail bed was red, and there was pus coming out when I pressed. I cleaned it and repeated the plaster and ointment treatment but by lunchtime, it was redder and my joint below the wound was sore. I jokingly asked the husband after sending him a photo if he thought I needed antibiotics too. He usually is calm and pragmatic and tells me to not be a worry wort, but even he thought it looked nasty and so off I trotted to the local walk-in clinic.

I was fairly convinced they would laugh at me, toss me another plaster and tell me not to be ridiculous and send me home.

Not, so, it seems. 

Cat scratches can be very serious. I know that. They can become very badly infected and require a lot of medical treatment. However, at 40 something, having been scratched a fair number of times, badly and not had an issue, I didn’t think this was THAT bad.

The nurse who saw me looked at it, and poked it and prodded it. “hmm”, she said. ‘don’t like the look of this, lets clean it, mark it with a pen, to see where it goes spread wise, go wait in the waiting room, and you will be seen”. I had to wait for two hours, and I will admit to being bored, annoyed, and texting the husband,  a few times, saying I was giving them til x time then I was leaving and it couldn’t be “that bad”.

They called me back and had spoken to the on-call doctor, who prescribed me not one but two lots of antibiotics (I am allergic to the standard treatment protocol antibiotics) and I was told a nurse would be coming over the next day to check on it, and redress it. I was also told that if it didn’t look better within 24 hours to go to A&E for help.

It went from a cat scratch, to looking nasty and being taken fairly seriously, within 24 hours.

Sheesh. Lucky me. 

And not only that, I can’t sunburned, pregnant OR drink alcohol on these babies. For a week. 

Lesson learned. Never tackle a cat on your own, when you KNOW it needs two people to give it medication. And if a cat scratch looks nasty, better be safe than sorry and get it looked at. This advice is also applicable to cat scratches, I have been told

Thanks for that, cat. Just as well I still love you really. I also need a tetanus update. I guess that’s a good thing to get done, less dramatic and painful circumstances would have been preferred. 

*Day three of antibiotics and a wound dressing change and my finger is almost normal looking but still sore. The nurse who changed my dressing told me she has seen some serious problems from cat scratches and that I wasn’t being silly to get it checked*

Posted in All things pet related and tagged , , .

One Comment

  1. Good advice about having two people! I was trying to get my cat into the carrier last week to go to the vet and he bit me. Thankfully didn’t need treatment but my partner and I kept a close eye on it because he did sink his teeth in quite deep and I was concerned about infection. However placid they are usually, they will still react in defense when scared or ill, even to those they trust and love.
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