Thursday, November 04, 2004

Bobcat bites woman who thought it was house cat

A couple of days ago, one of our cats bit Christina, twice, and pretty deep each time. Why ? Let's just say that trying to take an indoor cat on a walk outside, in a harness, is a bad idea, especially when it's a skittish cat to begin with ... apparently he was ok until, oh horror of horrors, somebody walked by; after that, he turned into the Tazmanian Devil on a rope. I'm told it was quite an impressive sight and sound, involving unaided mid-air backflips, rolling on the ground and growling, until Christina tried to pick him up to calm him down, at which point he decided that it was a good idea to quite literally bite the hand that feeds him. Twice.

We weren't entirely sure what to do, so we did what anybody in our position would do: we googled "cat bite treatment" and, lo and behold, got about 110,000 hits in 0.33 seconds. Perusing a few of the links produced the obvious: wash the wounds, put some iodine on them, hope that it'll all go away and, if it doesn't, go see a doctor. We did all of those but, a little scared by the statistic that about 40% of all cat bites get infected, Christina went to the MIT Medical Center the next day and they gave her a prescription for an antibiotic and sent her on her way.

Today, the hand was looking even worse, so we went back to the Medical Center and happened to get a specialist in infectious diseases to look at it. He looked at it for about 10 seconds and said "Ok, you're going to need to get an antibiotic intravenously, every 6 hours, until this clears up, so you're going to have to spend the night in the hospital". Not exactly what we were expecting, but after a couple of "C'mon doc, you're kidding, right ?"-type questions, he laid it out pretty bluntly -- apparently cats have some bacteria on their teeth that tend to cause bone infection, so when they bite people in an area where bones are close to the surface [like the hand], there's a danger of developing bone infection and that's Very Bad, like losing-your-hand-type Bad. After that, we meekly asked things like "Can we at least go home and get her some clothes before she comes back ?"

So, Christina is spending the night in the hospital getting pumped full of antibiotics and I'm sitting here giving the cat the Evil Eye. He, of course, is totally unaware of this and is passed out on his back, fast asleep because, you know, he had such a rough day, what with all the sleeping and eating he did.

Here's hoping those antibiotics kick some bacterial ass ...


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