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Cat scratch skin rash: Cat Scratch Disease Symptoms (Rash, Fever), Treatment & Diagnosis


Why Does It Itch When a Cat Scratches You?

A cat scratch on a finger, hand, arm or face will likely become really itchy. A quick swipe of the claws could lead to cuts, bleeding, itchiness, stinging, puffiness, or bacterial infection. The difference between a minor scratch that will heal quickly and a painful infection often has little to do with the cut itself but rather the state of the cat’s claws that inflicted the wound.

All cat scratches itch a lot because that is how wounds and abrasions heal. An infection, such as Bartonella henselae (cat scratch disease), can also cause the skin to become itchy. Other infections that make the skin itch include tetanus, cellulitis, ringworm, and toxoplasmosis. An allergy to cats will also intensify itchiness following a scratch.

We will look at how human skin reacts to a cat scratch and what factors determine the wound’s severity and healing time. We’ll then look at the most common skin infections and diseases transmitted from cats to humans.

Why Are Cat Scratches So Itchy?

Most cat scratches cause surface-level injuries, and the body will automatically start repairing itself. However, your body doesn’t consider the damage significant enough to release pain-reducing endorphins. According to The British Journal of Dermatology, the brain processes itching similarly to pain.

Itching is considered low intensity. Unless the itching becomes painful, the brain will acknowledge the discomfort but ignore it. In most cases, the itching will only last for 1-2 days. In some cases, it will take much longer to pass due to a bacterial or fungal infection. Others experience sustained itchiness due to an allergic reaction.


If you are allergic to cats, a scratch will cause intense itching. The skin’s surface area will redden, and you may experience streaming from the eyes and sneezing. In some cases, the area around the scratched skin may break out in hives. Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology said that cats are the second most common cause of human allergies.


If you have symptoms following a cat scratch, consider whether you may have developed an infection. Your cat should be immunized against anything dangerous. All the same, it will be helpful to recognize the symptoms of an infection:

Bartonella Henselae (Cat Scratch Disease)

Bartonella henselae is the most common explanation for itchiness after a cat scratches you. This condition is known as “cat scratch disease,” or CSD.

Fleas usually cause Bartonella henselae in cats. When the cat scratches itself to relieve itching, the bacteria is trapped under the claws. It can also travel into the cat’s saliva. When a cat licks its paws to groom, the bacteria will start to multiply. Cats rarely show any reaction to Bartonella henselae, passing it on unwittingly to humans through scratches.

The scratch will start to itch naturally as the skin repairs itself. CSD can manifest later, sometimes as long as 14 days after the event. The itching will intensify, and the skin may swell. You may experience fever and lethargy.

Kittens were responsible for the vast majority of 1,200 CSD diagnoses profiled by The American Journal of Diseases in Children. Young cats are more susceptible to disease and far likelier to scratch during play.

Left alone, CSD will eventually run its course. If the itching and other side effects are particularly uncomfortable, antibiotics will be prescribed to resolve the problem.


Tetanus is a bacterial infection that is usually passed on by animal bites or scratches. Thankfully, it is also commonly vaccinated against, and a tetanus shot will remain effective for 10 years.

Tetanus is commonly called ‘lockjaw’ because of one of the most prominent side effects. Tetanus bacteria attack the nervous system, mainly around the neck and jaw. Moving these body parts becomes increasingly difficult, which can restrict breathing.

Tetanus will cause stiffness throughout the body. In cats, the legs are most affected. The Swiss Archive for Veterinary Science reviewed 3 cases of cats with lameness due to tetanus. All 3 cats recovered fully with the aid of medication.

If you have a cat, it is advisable to protect yourself against tetanus as scratches and bites will happen. Get a booster every 5-10 years. If you are infected due to a lack of protection, antibiotics will be required.


If a cat scratches hard enough to break the skin, cellulitis becomes a risk. This is a bacterial infection that enters the body through cuts. In addition to significant itching, cellulitis will cause the skin to redden and swell. A rash will quickly form that feels hot to the touch.

Cellulitis is a result of the Pasteurella multocida bacteria. As The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery explains, symptoms usually present themselves within hours of the scratch taking place.

Left untreated, cellulitis can become problematic, even life-threatening. It can lead to MRSA in some cases. If the itching from a cat scratch turns into a rash, you’ll need a course of antibiotics.


Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that can live within a cat’s skin and nails. Any contact with a cat can potentially pass ringworm onto humans, including scratches. A cat with ringworm will constantly scratch, leading to flailing legs. Consequently, you may be unintentionally scratched and infected with ringworm.

The infection is defined by dry, scabby skin. This manifests as circular markings, which is what gives the infection its name. Ringworm is not a parasite and does not involve worms of any kind.

Aside from unsightliness, ringworm can cause significant itching. If you notice the physical symptoms of ringworm on your skin, it should be treated ASAP. As the skin is so dry, scratching the itch risks creating open wounds and scars. Ringworm is easily treated with the aid of a topical ointment. This will resolve the itching and kill the fungus.

Ringworm is also contagious, so quarantine yourself and your cat until you’re both fully recovered. You will also need to clean and sterilize everything you came into contact with, including clothes and furniture. Failure to do so may result in a recurrence of ringworm and the associated itchiness of the skin.


There is a slim chance of being infected with toxoplasmosis from a cat scratch. The chance is slim because the disease is not carried in feline saliva. Simply licking paws will transfer the bacteria to a cat’s claws, and cats shed the bacteria that cause this infection through feces.

According to Veterinary Parasitology, most infections involve handling contaminated waste. A dirty litter tray means that feline waste can become trapped in a cat’s claws. If the cat scratches and breaks the skin, the infection can be passed on to humans. This is unlikely, but it’s not impossible.

Most cats show no symptoms of toxoplasmosis. If your cat has the condition, it may display run a fever, become lethargic, and lose its appetite.

Be mindful of toxoplasmosis risk if you are pregnant or have children, as it can cause a range of health concerns in children and fetuses, including blindness.

Bubonic Plague

Bubonic plague is caused by a strain of bacteria called yersinia pestis. Cats can catch the plague by eating infected mice or being bitten by fleas. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, cats can pass on the plague to humans via scratching. Caught sufficiently early, the plague can be treated with antibiotics.

Treating the Cause of the Itchiness

If you have been scratched by your cat, wash the area immediately with soapy water for about 2 minutes. Apply an antibiotic ointment as a precaution.

If the wound is still bleeding after washing, hold a gauze against the wound and apply a bandage once the bleeding subsides. Check the wound, and change your dressing daily. If you notice swelling or pus in and around the wound, then an infection has occurred. If so, you will need a course of antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Cat Scratch Disease (Cat Scratch Fever): Background, Pathophysiology, Etiology


Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH Professor and Head of Dermatology, Professor of Pathology, Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, New York Academy of Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Rajendra Kapila, MD, MBBS † Professor, Department of Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Rajendra Kapila, MD, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Infectious Diseases Society of New Jersey

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD David Ross Boyd Professor and Chairman, Department of Medicine, Stewart G Wolf Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center; Master of the American College of Physicians; Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America; Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, Association of Professors of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Oklahoma State Medical Association, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Joyce R Drayton, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Morehouse School of Medicine

Joyce R Drayton, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Preventive Medicine, Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians, American Holistic Medical Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Rose A Ressner, DO Staff, Department of Infectious Diseases, Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Rose A Ressner, DO is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Armed Forces Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Stephen J Nervi, MD Staff Physician, Department of Dermatology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School

Stephen J Nervi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Jeffrey Glenn Bowman, MD, MS Consulting Staff, Highfield MRI

Itzhak Brook, MD, MSc Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine

Itzhak Brook, MD, MSc is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Federation for Clinical Research, American Medical Association, American Society for Microbiology, Armed Forces Infectious Diseases Society, Association of Military Surgeons of the US, Infectious Diseases Society of America, International Immunocompromised Host Society, International Society for Infectious Diseases,Medical Society of the District of Columbia, New York Academy of Sciences, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Ear, Nose and Throat Advances in Children, Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, Society for Pediatric Research, Southern Medical Association, and Surgical Infection Society

Jack A Coleman, MD Consulting Staff, Franklin Surgical Associates

Jack A Coleman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Bronchoesophagological Association, American College of Surgeons, American Laryngological Rhinological and Otological Society, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and Association of Military Surgeons of the US

Disclosure: Accarent, Inc. Honoraria Speaking and teaching

Joseph Domachowske, MD Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, State University of New York Upstate Medical University

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Dirk M Elston, MD Director, Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, New York

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Allan D Friedman, MD, MPH Chairman, Division of General Pediatrics, VCUH Health System; Professor of Pediatrics, Virginia Commonwealth University

Allan D Friedman, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics

Lynn L Horvath, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine/Infectious Disease, University of Texas Health Science Center; Consulting Staff, Department of Infectious Disease, Brooke Army Medical Center

Lynn L Horvath, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society for Microbiology, Armed Forces Infectious Diseases Society, and Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Robert M Kellman, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, State University of New York Upstate Medical University

Robert M Kellman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Neurotology Society, American Rhinologic Society, American Society for Head and Neck Surgery, Medical Society of the State of New York, and Triological Society

John W King, MD Professor of Medicine, Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases, Director, Viral Therapeutics Clinics for Hepatitis, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; Consultant in Infectious Diseases, Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center

John W King, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Physicians, American Federation for Medical Research, American Society for Microbiology, Association of Subspecialty Professors, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Sigma Xi

Disclosure: Medscape Reference $50.00 Author of chapter; MERCK None Other

Carrie L Kovarik, MD Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Dermatopathology, and Infectious Diseases, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

John M Leedom, MD Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

John M Leedom, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, International AIDS Society, and Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kim Lundstrom, MD Consulting Staff, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Longmont Clinic

Kim Lundstrom, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and American Medical Association

Gauri Mankekar, MBBS, MS, DNB, PhD Consultant Otorhinolaryngologist, Department of Otolaryngology, PD Hinduja National Hospital, India

Gauri Mankekar, MBBS, MS, DNB, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: Association of Medical Consultants of Mumbai, Association of Otolaryngologists of India, and Cochlear Implant Group of India

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jill McKenzie, MD Resident, Division of Dermatology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Jill McKenzie, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, and American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and American Head and Neck Society

Disclosure: Covidien Corp Consulting fee Consulting; US Tobacco Corporation Unrestricted gift Unknown; Axis Three Corporation Ownership interest Consulting; Omni Biosciences Ownership interest Consulting; Sentegra Ownership interest Board membership; Syndicom Ownership interest Consulting; Oxlo Consulting; Medvoy Ownership interest Management position; Cerescan Imaging Honoraria Consulting; GYRUS ACMI Honoraria Consulting

Van Perry, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Gregory J Raugi, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Washington at Seattle School of Medicine; Chief, Dermatology Section, Primary and Specialty Care Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center of Seattle

Gregory J Raugi, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Erik D Schraga, MD Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mills-Peninsula Emergency Medical Associates

Barry J Sheridan, DO Chief Warrior in Transition Services, Brooke Army Medical Center

Barry J Sheridan, DO is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kerrie J Spoonemore, MD, PharmD Clinical Instructor, Department of Dermatology, University of Washington

Kerrie J Spoonemore, MD, PharmD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Russell W Steele, MD Head, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Ochsner Children’s Health Center; Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Tulane University School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

Michael J Wells, MD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Zoonotic Disease: What Can I Catch from My Cat?

Although most feline infectious diseases only affect cats, some of these diseases can be transmitted from cats to people. Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people are called zoonotic diseases. While not comprehensive, this article highlights the most common zoonotic diseases that may be carried by cats and simple precautions you can take to reduce your risk of contracting these diseases. For more information about specific risks, diagnosis, and treatment of zoonotic diseases, contact your physician/health professional.

The likelihood of an average person contracting a zoonotic disease from a cat is low, but individuals with immature or weakened immune systems are more susceptible to these diseases. This includes infants, individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the elderly, and people undergoing cancer chemotherapy or receiving other drugs that may suppress their immune systems.


Bacterial Infections
Cat scratch disease (CSD) is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae, which may be carried in the saliva of infected cats and in the bodies of cat fleas. As the name implies, this bacterial infection is usually transmitted from cat to human via scratches, although it can also be transmitted via bite wounds and when a cat licks the open wounds of a person. Among cats, this bacterium is most commonly transmitted by the bites of infected cat fleas, and it may also be found in the feces of these fleas, which can serve as sources of infection if exposed to an open wound in either a cat or a human.

People with CSD usually develop swelling and possibly a blister at the site of the bite or scratch. Lymph nodes in the region of the wound may swell and become painful, and affected individuals may experience fever, headache, sore muscles and joints, fatigue, and poor appetite. Healthy adults generally recover with no lasting effects, but it may take several months for the disease to go away completely. People with compromised immune systems may suffer more severe consequences, including infections of the eyes, brain, and heart. Severe cases of CSD may require antibiotic therapy to resolve.

Approximately 40 percent of cats are infected with Bartonella henselae, but most show no signs of disease. Antibiotics do not reliably cure infection in these cats and are not currently recommended. For humans, avoiding scratches and bites (for example, by not allowing children to play roughly with cats), washing hands after playing with cats, controlling fleas, and keeping cats indoors all reduce the risk of CSD. Because most cases of CSD result from contact with kittens under one year of age, immunocompromised people should avoid such contact.

Pasteurella multocida is a bacterium found in the mouths of between 70 and 90 percent of cats, and it has been found in between 50 and 80 percent of cat bites in humans that become serious enough to seek medical attention. Cat bites infected with this organism may develop pain, swelling, and redness at the wound site within 24 to 48 hours. Pasteurella-infected cat bite wounds are successfully treated with antibiotic therapy in the vast majority of cases, but more serious complications, such as the spread of bacteria through the blood stream and infection of heart valves, may occur in rare cases.

Salmonella poisoning, also called salmonellosis, is caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella, and can lead to diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain beginning one to three days after infection. People usually contract salmonellosis by eating contaminated food, such as undercooked chicken or eggs, but it is possible to contract the disease from infected cats, which can carry Salmonella bacteria and pass them in their stool. Although salmonellosis usually resolves on its own, some individuals require medical attention to address severe diarrhea or the effects of the infection on organs other than the digestive tract.

Salmonella is more commonly found in cats that feed on raw meat or wild birds and animals, so owners can reduce the risk of salmonellosis in themselves and their cats by keeping cats indoors and feeding them cooked or commercially processed food. Wearing gloves when cleaning litterboxes or gardening (in case outdoor cats have defecated in the soil) and washing hands thoroughly after these activities is also recommended.

Parasitic Infections
Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats, and their bites can cause itching and inflammation in humans and cats alike. Fleas may also serve as vectors for CSD and other zoonotic diseases. Flea-infested cats may become infected with tapeworms from fleas ingested while grooming. While not common, people can also become infected with tapeworms by inadvertently ingesting fleas.

Scabies, or infection by the mange mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is another zoonotic external parasite of the skin of cats. While not as common as flea infestations, these mites can be passed from infected cats to people, where they burrow into the skin and cause itchy, raised lesions. Treatment in people usually involves the use of topical ointments to decrease itching, diligent treatment of infective pets, and careful cleaning of clothes and bedding.

Certain feline intestinal parasites, including roundworms (Toxocara) and hookworms (Ancylostoma), can also cause disease in people. Children are particularly at risk due to their higher likelihood of contact with soil that has been contaminated by cat feces. Although most people infected with feline intestinal parasites do not show signs of illness, some people may get sick.

Visceral larva migrans, a potentially serious disease that can affect various organs, results from consumption of Toxocara eggs (for instance, when soiled fingers are placed in the mouth). Toxocara larvae may then migrate to abdominal organs, including the liver, or to the central nervous system. Symptoms of visceral larva migrans may include fever, fatigue, coughing, wheezing, and abdominal pain. Ocular larva migrans is the term used for a condition in which Toxocara larvae migrate to the eye, causing visual disturbances, abnormal eye movements, or eye pain and discomfort.

Cutaneous larva migrans, an itchy skin disease, is caused by contact with soil contaminated with Ancylostoma larvae. These larvae may penetrate and migrate under the skin, with resultant inflammation, itching and pain, and raised, red linear lesions in the skin that follow the larva’s migration. Proper hygiene, including washing hands before meals, cleaning soil from vegetables, and reducing exposure to cat feces can prevent infection. Anti-parasite medications for kittens and annual fecal exams for adult cats can reduce environmental contamination and the risk of human infection.

Fungal Infections
Ringworm (or dermatophytosis) is not caused by a worm at all. Rather, it is a skin infection caused by a group of fungi. Infected cats most often come from environments housing large numbers of animals. In cats, ringworm usually appears as a dry, gray, scaly patch on the skin. In humans, ringworm often appears as a round, red, itchy lesion with a ring of scale around the edge. Lesions may be found in a variety of places, including the scalp, the feet (where’s its referred to as “athlete’s foot”), the groin, or the beard. Ringworm is transmitted by contact with an infected animal’s skin or fur, either directly or from a contaminated environment. Infected cats continuously drop fungal spores from their skin and fur. These spores, which remain capable of causing infection for many months, are difficult to eradicate from a household. Children are particularly at risk of infection. Treatment involves the use of either topical antifungal ointments or oral antifungal medication, depending upon the severity and location of lesions. To reduce environmental contamination, confine infected cats to one room until they are free of infection, then thoroughly clean and disinfect the household.

Protozoal Infections
Protozoans are single-celled organisms. The three most common protozoal diseases in cats and humans are cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, and toxoplasmosis.

Cryptosporidiosis can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and dehydration in both cats and people. Either direct or indirect contact with the feces of cats infected with Cryptosporidium organisms can lead to transmission of this disease. As with most other zoonotic diseases, immunocompromised individuals are at the greatest risk of infection. To prevent the spread of infection, schedule annual fecal examinations for your cats, and medicate infected cats as directed by your veterinarian. Other preventive measures include wearing gloves while handling feces-contaminated material and washing hands afterwards.

Giardiasis is caused by infection with the microscopic parasite Giardia. Many animal species (including the cat), are susceptible to infection with Giardia, which is passed in the feces and usually spread to other animals and humans via contaminated water sources, surfaces, or in uncooked food items. The symptoms of Giardia infection include diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal cramps, nausea, and dehydration. A number of prescription drugs are available to treat this condition, and most people that are infected make an uneventful recovery. It is important to realize that the majority of cases of giardiasis in people do not occur as a result of infection by cats, but rather by ingesting water or food contaminated by farm animals or wildlife.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by the parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. People with weakened immune systems and infants whose mothers are infected during pregnancy can develop severe illness from this parasite. Most people infected with Toxoplasma, however, show no overt signs of disease.

Cats can acquire Toxoplasma by eating infected rodents, birds, or anything contaminated with feces from another infected animal. An infected cat can shed the parasite in its feces for up to two weeks. Once shed in the feces, the parasite must mature for one to five days before it becomes capable of causing infection. However, it can persist in the environment for many months and continue to contaminate soil, water, gardens, sandboxes, or any place where an infected cat has defecated. Although pregnant women or immunosuppressed individuals are often advised to remove cats from the household to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis, direct contact with cats is very unlikely to spread infection with this organism.

Cats can transmit Toxoplasma to people through their feces, but humans most commonly become infected by eating undercooked or raw meat, or by inadvertently consuming contaminated soil on unwashed or undercooked vegetables. The symptoms of toxoplasmosis include flu-like muscle aches and fever, and headache. In rare cases, more advanced symptoms such as confusion, seizures, vomiting, or diarrhea may be observed.

Basic hygiene can prevent the spread of Toxoplasma from cats to humans. Wear gloves when handling potentially contaminated material (for example, when gardening or scooping the litterbox), and be sure to wash your hands afterwards. Cover children’s sandboxes when not in use to prevent wandering cats from defecating in them.

Pregnant women or immunosuppressed individuals are safest when other household members clean the litter box.

Viral Infections
Rabies is a viral disease that is spread through the bite of an infected animal. Although most viruses infect only their natural host species, rabies is an important exception. Cats are highly susceptible to rabies, which attacks the central nervous system, causing a variety of signs. Rabies is almost always fatal. In people, rabies infections usually occur when an infected animal bites a person. In order to protect human health, rabies vaccination of cats is required by law in many areas. Even if your cat is kept indoors, it is important to keep rabies vaccines current because cats occasionally escape outdoors, and because rabid animals such as bats and raccoons occasionally enter houses. To further reduce your risk of rabies, avoid contact with wildlife and stray animals and see a doctor immediately if you have been bitten by an animal.

Updated March 2017

Signs and Symptoms of Cat Scratch Fever in Babies

If your cat scratches your baby, it could lead to infection. The reason: Cats (mostly kittens) can transmit cat scratch fever, or cat scratch disease, a bacterial infection caused by Bartonella henselae. 

The disease is spread through contact with an infected cat (a bite or scratch). It can be spread by a bite or scratch or from contact with cat saliva on broken skin or mucosal surfaces like the nose, mouth, and eyes, according to the National Institutes of Health.

How to Prevent Cat Scratch Fever

Your best bet is to keep your cat (especially if it’s a kitten) away from your infant. Or, at the very least, curb any vigorous play between the animal and baby.

It’s never too early to teach kids not to tease or provoke pets, especially when the animals are eating or sleeping. Flea control is also important because this appears to be how cats pass the bacteria to each other (though not to humans).

What to Do If Your Baby Gets Scratched

  • Clean the cat scratch or bite immediately with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure to the wounded area until the bleeding stops.
  • Use a clean bandage or towel and, if possible, use latex-free gloves to protect yourself and to prevent the wound from getting infected.
  • Dry the wound and cover it with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
  • Call your pediatrician, especially if the cat scratch punctured the skin, and set up an appointment for the wound to be evaluated and treated properly.


Generally, after a scratch or bite from a cat, some pimples will form around the wound as it heals. These can last up to one month. If you suspect your child may have cat scratch disease, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Keep an eye out for the following warning signs:

  • Bump (papule) or blister (pustule) at the site of scratch or bite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever 
  • Headaches
  • Lymph node swelling near the site of the scratch or bite
  • Overall discomfort 

Less common symptoms may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Weight loss

Even a slight scratch on your little one’s soft, sensitive skin can cause feelings of panic for new parents, but keep in mind that cat scratch fever is not a serious disease.

A physical exam followed by a simple blood test, called The Bartonella henselae IFA blood test, is often enough to diagnose the infection. And most children with a healthy immune system recover from the disease fully on their own; however, treatment can sometimes include a course of antibiotics such as azithromycin, clarithromycin, rifampin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or ciprofloxacin.

Is Your Cat Over-grooming? Hair Loss & Other Signs of an Itchy Cat

Cats spend about 30-40% of their day grooming themselves. The rest of their time is mostly spent sleeping—this is a well-known fact among cat lovers! Families with cats usually love to groom and brush their cats. As icing on the cake, a cat can demand cuddles or brushing when they crave some extra love. What a life!

Cats are clean animals and have very specific sets of habits and routines. They are the friends that give you space, but also demand their own private time. This makes them ideal as pets as they take care of themselves for the most part. On the other hand, dogs are like those friends that want to share every detail of their lives with you. The different needs and commitment involved makes us gravitate towards either species as our preferred pet. Some, like me, want both and end up with both cat(s) and dog(s) as part of the family!

As cats are private pets and tend to spend a lot of time on their own—yes, mostly self-grooming and sleeping—it can sometimes be difficult to pick up early, subtle changes in their health. A good example is itchiness. Very itchy cats scratch themselves and make it quite obvious they are not happy. Mildly itchy cats may just groom a particular part of the skin more than usual. They may even groom the whole body excessively.

But how can we tell if there is a minor increase in a cat’s grooming habits? After all, your cat has always been grooming and has been in good health!

Let’s establish what the signs of itchiness in a cat may be. Scratching is the most obvious sign. People, cats and dogs scratch using their nails as a reflex. Head shaking, rubbing excessively against a surface, biting at paws are also types of itchiness in dogs and cats.

Humans also may itch their back using the edge of the door or wall. If your shoulder was suddenly itchy and hands were busy or dirty, would you not gently rub your itchy shoulder on a clean surface to relive the itch until the hands are free to help? I would!


If dogs lick themselves for more than a minute or two a day, it is considered to be itchiness. Increased licking of the skin is surely not normal. With cats, excessive licking (over-grooming) is difficult to assess but does happen.


If your cat is losing hair on a part of the body and you notice the kitty paying more attention to that area, you are likely seeing a case of itchiness. As cats may spend most of their time grooming themselves anyway, you may not see it as a problem until you notice patches of hair missing or possible crusts on their skin.

Here are Some Signs of Itchiness in Cats:

  • Over-grooming – an increase in time spent self-grooming
  • Scratching – using claws and paws to scratch an area; usually the chest, head & neck
  • Nail pulling – biting and pulling at nails
  • Rubbing – rubbing face on carpet, or rolling the back on floor more than usual
  • Scooting – rubbing back end on floor or carpet
  • Hair balls – hair can be ingested due to increased grooming and forms hair balls in stomach. These hair balls are then vomited out by the cat.
  • Head shaking – a typical sign of itchiness in their ears
  • Hair loss – trauma to hairs of a certain area can cause hair loss
  • Skin rashes and crusts – trauma to skin can also cause rashes or infection


Remember, scratching is one of the forms of itchiness. All scratching is itching, but not all itching has to be scratching! Other behaviours such as licking, biting, rubbing, and head shaking can also be signs of itchiness.


Some Fancy Terms for Itchiness

Silent Grooming: Even when cats increase their grooming significantly, they may do this hidden from you. They may quietly “hide” in a private space and groom away. Or, they may simply over-groom at night. This behaviour is called silent grooming. This is likely due to cats being the friend that will keep their problems to themselves. Increased hair loss, skin rashes, and hair balls around the house can help us find out that kitty is silently over-grooming!

Barbering: Cats have tiny barbs (or hooks) on their tongue, called papillae. These hooks can lead to fine trimming of hair at areas where a cat is grooming excessively and repeatedly. The skin doesn’t always become bald at these areas but is just shorter like a barber may trim hair. This is where the term barbering comes from. Over-grooming of the belly commonly causes such hair loss.

Fur Mowing: Similar to barbering, the papillae on the tongue can cause the hair on belly to look like a nicely mowed lawn!


Dr. Bajwa: I wish I was half as good at keeping up with my home lawn mowed, as some of my patients’ hair is mowed when I first see them. But I even things out by making them mow their fur less and help their fur grow back, just like the grass in my yard!


Possible Over-grooming Causes

Where a cat focuses their licking can give clues to the possible problem. Here are some common reasons for a cat over-grooming or itching itself:

  • Flea infestation
  • Environmental allergy
  • Skin and ear mites (parasites of skin and ears)
  • Food allergy
  • Skin infection
  • Skin abscess
  • Psychogenic alopecia (stress-induced licking)

If your cat has a painful area, he or she will focus on over-grooming that area. If your kitty licks to the point of breaking skin, it can cause an infection and with further licking, itchiness worsens. More itch triggers more infection and the vicious cycle can continue.

Identifying an underlying medical issue is the first step to fix the problem. Psychogenic or stress related hair loss is very rare. Before thinking of emotional reasons that may be making your cat obsessively lick themselves, allergy testing and a parasite check should be done. Stress can cause over-grooming for self-soothing, but is not very commoners the main problem. Stress should not cause any other signs of itchiness. There may be an overlap between stress and allergies, leading to over-grooming in cats.

What to Do About Excessive Grooming Behaviour

I find it best to consider excessive grooming as just a part of overall itchiness. If a cat is itchy and showing other signs, over-grooming is just a part of the puzzle. If over-grooming is the only itching behaviour of concern, additional signs like hair balls, hair loss, and skin lesions are usually helpful in finding the cause of itchiness.

Obtaining a veterinary exam or seeing a vet dermatologist should help check for causes. If there is infection, it will need treatment. Parasites like fleas also need to be treated. Allergies are typically the most common reason for over-grooming, which can be controlled. Allergies can be due to various causes though. Cat dermatologists are well versed in treating cats with allergies and isolating the underlying problem. Usually additional signs and factors are taken in to account rather than focusing on excessive grooming alone.

The best thing for your cat is to be patient and help the vet find the cause so your cat can go back to having the comfort he or she deserves. Then it will be back to lots of naps, cuddles, routine grooming and attention from human companions when desired—i.e. the good life!




Dr. Jangi Bajwa is a Board certified veterinary dermatologist at VetDERM Clinic in Surrey BC. He is also the dermatology feature editor for Canadian Veterinary Journal. Dr. Bajwa’s special interests include otitis and allergic disease in pets; as well as helping improve quality of life of pets and their families.


Collection of dermatological disorders – Knowledge @ AMBOSS

Last updated: July 21, 2021


This article covers various dermatological disorders, including sebaceous and epidermoid cysts, cat scratch disease, cutaneous mastocytosis, miliaria, nummular eczema, angiokeratoma, dyshidrotic eczema, livedo reticularis, xeroderma pigmentosum, pseudofolliculitis barbae, and albinism.

Sebaceous and epidermoid cysts

  • Description
  • Clinical features

    • Both
      • Slow-growing, mobile, firm, painless nodule
      • Localized predominantly on the face, head, neck, back, or genitals
      • Infection possible (causes painful, erythematous mass that may exude pus)
      • High probability of recurrence
    • Sebaceous cyst: dark-colored punctum may be seen
  • Differential diagnosis: trichilemmal cyst (pilar cyst)

    • Description: a cyst that forms around a hair follicle
    • Clinical features
    • Treatment: surgical excision
  • Treatment


Cat scratch disease

  • Definition: a benign, self-limiting infectious disease that is transmitted mainly by cats (via scratching, biting, or licking)
  • Epidemiology: predominantly affects children and adolescents
  • Pathogen: Bartonella henselae (gram negative, aerobic bacillus)
  • Clinical features

    • General: malaise, loss of appetite, fever
    • Localized
      • One or more 5–10 mm large, erythematous, nontender cutaneous papules or vesicles develop approx. 3–10 days after exposure at the site of inoculation. [4]
      • Swollen, tender lymph nodes 7–60 days following exposure [4]

        • Develops as primary lesions disappear
        • Usually unilateral, occasionally suppurative
        • Most commonly involves lymph nodes of axillae, neck, or groin (nearest the site of inoculation)
        • Resolves after 2–4 months [4]
    • In immunocompromised individuals (e.g., patients with HIV)
  • Diagnostics
  • Differential diagnosis: Kaposi sarcoma (has lymphocytic infiltrate as opposed to bacillary angiomatosis)
  • Treatment


Cutaneous mastocytosis (urticaria pigmentosa)

  • Definition: a condition characterized by proliferation and accumulation of mast cells in the skin
  • Epidemiology: mainly affects children
  • Clinical features Diagnostics
  • Treatment: supportive treatment only (no curative treatment available)
  • Prognosis: resolve spontaneously before the onset of puberty [9]


  • Definition: transient, papular exanthem following exposure to heat
  • Etiology: blockage of the eccrine sweat ducts in hot and/or humid environments
  • Localization: : mainly on the trunk, neck, and intertriginous areas
  • Treatment

Nummular eczema (nummular dermatitis)

  • Description: chronic inflammatory skin condition; characterized by well-demarcated round lesions
  • Etiology
  • Clinical features
  • Treatment

Gianotti-Crosti syndrome


Dyshidrotic eczema

  • Definition: a condition characterized by a recurrent, acute blistering eczema of the palms and/or soles
  • Etiology

    • Unknown (believed to be multifactorial)
    • Risk factors include:
  • Clinical features

    • Acute, recurrent episodes of pruritic vesicular/bullous eruptions on the palms, lateral aspects of the fingers, and/or soles
      • Warm weather exacerbates symptoms.
      • The lesions are usually multiple and deep-seated.
    • Severe cases include dystrophic nail changes (e.g., color changes, ridge formation)
  • Diagnostics
  • Treatment

    • Avoid triggers (e.g., allergens and irritants such as metals, perfumes, or cigarette smoking)
    • Appropriate skin care (i.e., wash hands with lukewarm water and soap-free cleanser, apply emollients after drying hands adequately)
    • Topical corticosteroids for mild cases that do not respond to general measures
    • Oral corticosteroids for severe cases
    • Consider adding PUVA or UVA treatment for patients with refractory disease.
  • Complications

Erythema ab igne

  • Description: reticular erythema with telangiectasias
  • Etiology: paralysis of the deep vascular plexus of the skin caused due to chronic heat application (e.g., infrared radiation, hot water bottles)
  • Pathophysiology: direct skin application of heat for extended periods of time → direct heat triggers increased melanin production → marbled, brownish hyperpigmentation
  • Treatment [13]
  • Complications [13]


  • Callus: thick, toughened skin caused by repeated mechanical pressure and friction
  • Clavus: a painful, hyperkeratotic lesion with a center core (corn) caused by frictional forces and trauma

Pitted keratolysis (keratoma plantare sulcatum)

Localized lipodistrophy

Perioral dermatitis (stewardess disease)

  • Description: chronic facial dermatitis affecting the perioral region
  • Epidemiology: primarily children and women 20–45 years of age [15]
  • Etiology

    • Unknown
    • Presumably caused by regular application of (glucocorticoid) creams and/or cosmetics
  • Clinical features

    • Erythema with grouped papules and pustules
    • Dry skin with painful burning and a sensation of tightness
    • No residual scarring after resolution
  • Treatment

SAPHO syndrome

  • Description: a rheumatological, spondylarthritic disease with simultaneous occurrence of synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis, and osteitis
  • Clinical features
  • Etiology: unknown
  • Diagnostics

    • Mainly a clinical diagnosis
    • Imaging
  • Treatment: primarily symptomatic

Livedo reticularis

Types of livedo reticularis [16]
Physiological livedo (idiopathic livedo) Pathological livedo (livedo racemosa)
  • A vascular syndrome that can be caused by either benign autonomic dysregulation of cutaneous perfusion or pathological obstruction of blood vessels
  • Autonomic dysregulation (functional disturbance) causing slowed cutaneous perfusion in response to external factors (i.e., cold)
  • Localized obstructions slow the blood flow (organic disturbance)
Clinical features
  • Symmetrical livedo reticularis (regular, small, round) of the extremities and sometimes the trunk
  • Triggered by cold, regresses after application of warmth
  • Warmth, sauna, alternating cold and warm baths
  • Treat the underlying disease
  • Depends on the underlying disease (usually more difficult to treat)

Livedo reticularis that does not regress after application of warmth is indicative of an underlying vascular disease and requires treatment.

Xeroderma pigmentosum

  • Description [17]

    • Rare, autosomal-recessive, hereditary skin disease caused by defective DNA repair mechanisms (i.e., nucleotide excision repair)
    • Minimal UV radiation has carcinogenic effects and can lead to severe skin damage in affected individuals,
  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical features
  • Diagnosis

    • Primarily based on history and clinical findings
    • Confirmatory genetic testing
  • Management

    • UV protection: limit exposure of skin and eyes to sunlight (e.g., protective clothing, high SPF sunscreen, UV-protective eyewear)
    • Vitamin D supplementation
    • Frequent skin cancer screening and ophthalmic exams
    • Systemic retinoids: non-melanoma skin cancer prophylaxis
  • Complications
  • Prognosis: severely limited life expectancy [18][19]

Pseudofolliculitis barbae

  • Description: inflammatory skin reaction in response to short hair that becomes entrapped within the skin
  • Etiology

    • Usually occurs due to shaving (also known as razor bumps)
    • Most common in African American men because the hair shafts typically form tight coils
  • Pathophysiology

    • Extrafollicular penetration: Hair enters the interfollicular epidermis after it exits the follicular orifice.
    • Transfollicular penetration: Hair penetrates the dermis before exiting the follicular orifice.
  • Clinical features
  • Diagnostics: a clinical diagnosis
  • Treatment


  • Definition: : congenital disorders of melanin synthesis resulting in hypopigmentation
  • Epidemiology

    • Affects all races and both sexes
    • Most types of albinism are congenital and noticed early in life (e.g., newborns).
  • Classification

    • Ocular albinism (OA): Only the visual system (e.g., iris, retina) is affected, but not the skin or hair.
    • Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA)
  • Pathophysiology: dysfunctional tyrosinase activity or impaired transport of tyrosine and/or melanin → decreased or absent melanin production (melanocyte levels are normal)
  • Clinical features
  • Treatment: only supportive treatment, no curative treatment available

    • Treatment of strabismus: eye-patching , eye surgery
    • Avoidance of direct exposure to UV light and regular screening for skin cancer
    • Wearing (prescription) sunglasses
    • Nitisinone : used for the treatment of hereditary tyrosinemia type 1

Waardenburg syndrome

  • Definition: a congenital pigmentation disorder due to abnormal migration of melanocytes during embryogenesis
  • Etiology: an autosomal dominant inherited disorder
  • Clinical features
  • Treatment: only supportive treatment, no curative treatment available


  • Definition: a rare, very aggressive vascular malignancy, arising from endothelial cells of blood or lymphatic vessels [20]
  • Epidemiology: peak incidence age > 70 years [20]
  • Etiology [20]
  • Clinical features [21][22]

    • Location
      • More common in sun-exposed areas
      • Usually occur on the head, neck, and breast
      • May involve the internal organs (e.g., hepatic angiosarcoma)
    • Lesion
      • Blue/purple-colored with a bruise-like appearance
      • Later stage: hemorrhage or ulceration
      • High variability in appearance
  • Treatment [22]

    • Complete resection with wide margins
    • Resection may be complicated by the aggressive course of the disease and delayed diagnosis.


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  4. Opavsky MA. Cat scratch disease: The story continues.. The Canadian journal of infectious diseases = Journal canadien des maladies infectieuses. 1997; 8
    (1): p.43-9.
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  5. Berzigotti A, Magalotti D, Zappoli P, Rossi C, Callea F, Zoli M. Peliosis hepatis as an early histological finding in idiopathic portal hypertension: A case report.. World journal of gastroenterology. 2006; 12
    (22): p.3612-5.
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  6. Atila K, Coker A, Uçar D, et al. A rare clinical entity misdiagnosed as a tumor: peliosis hepatis.. Ulusal travma ve acil cerrahi dergisi = Turkish journal of trauma & emergency surgery : TJTES. 2007; 13
    (2): p.149-53.

  7. Bleibel W, Curry MP. Peliosis Hepatis. In: Post TW, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/peliosis-hepatis.Last updated: June 27, 2017. Accessed: September 14, 2017.
  8. Hepatic Peliosis.
    Updated: September 14, 2017.
    Accessed: September 14, 2017.
  9. Wenzel FG, Horn TD. Nonneoplastic disorders of the eccrine glands.. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998; 38
    (1): p.1-17; quiz 18-20.
    doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(98)70532-8 . | Open in Read by QxMD

  10. Fernández-Crehuet P, Ruiz-Villaverde R. Pitted keratolysis: an infective cause of foot odour.. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne. 2015; 187
    (7): p.519.
    doi: 10.1503/cmaj.140809 . | Open in Read by QxMD

  11. Taïeb A, Plantin P, Du Pasquier P, Guillet G, Maleville J. Gianotti-Crosti syndrome: a study of 26 cases.. Br J Dermatol. 1986; 115
    (1): p.49-59.
    doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1986.tb06219.x . | Open in Read by QxMD

  12. Chuh A, Lee A, Zawar V. The diagnostic criteria of Gianotti-Crosti syndrome: are they applicable to children in India?. Pediatr Dermatol. undefined; 21
    (5): p.542-7.
    doi: 10.1111/j.0736-8046.2004.21503.x . | Open in Read by QxMD

  13. Wiechers T, Rabenhorst A, Schick T, et al. Large maculopapular cutaneous lesions are associated with favorable outcome in childhood-onset mastocytosis.. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015; 136
    (6): p.1581-1590.e3.
    doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.05.034 . | Open in Read by QxMD

  14. Tolaymat L, Hall MR. Perioral Dermatitis. StatPearls. 2020

  15. Sajjan V, Swamy M, Lunge S, Pandit A. Livedo reticularis: A review of the literature. Indian Dermatology Online Journal. 2015; 6
    (5): p.315-321.
    doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.164493 . | Open in Read by QxMD

  16. Xeroderma pigmentosum.
    Accessed: December 17, 2020.
  17. Lucero R, Horowitz D. Xeroderma Pigmentosum. StatPearls. 2020

  18. Black JO. Xeroderma Pigmentosum. Head and Neck Pathology. 2016; 10
    (2): p.139-144.
    doi: 10.1007/s12105-016-0707-8 . | Open in Read by QxMD

  19. Angiosarcoma – National Cancer Institute.
    Updated: February 27, 2019.
    Accessed: April 6, 2020.
  20. Gaballah AH, Jensen CT, Palmquist S, et al. Angiosarcoma: clinical and imaging features from head to toe. Br J Radiol. 2017; 90
    (1075): p.20170039.
    doi: 10.1259/bjr.20170039 . | Open in Read by QxMD

  21. Tambe SA, Nayak CS. Metastatic Angiosarcoma of Lower Extremity.. Indian dermatology online journal. undefined; 9
    (3): p.177-181.
    doi: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_92_17 . | Open in Read by QxMD

  22. Kettelhut EA, Traylor J, Roach JP. Erythema Ab Igne. StatPearls. 2020

Cat Scratch Fever: See Your Doctor + Find Natural Relief

There’s a kids’ game and a Ted Nugent song by the same name, but what is cat scratch fever? Many people have heard of it, but still wonder, is there really such a thing as cat scratch fever? Yes, cat scratch fever is a very real infection that can happen to anyone who owns a cat or interacts with a cat.

Even though cat bites aren’t always serious, even a small bite or scratch from a cat can lead to a bacterial infection that is not easy to treat. In fact, a study conducted by Mayo Clinic published in the Journal of Hand Surgery reveals that nearly a third of patients treated at Mayo Clinic for a cat bite on the hand required hospitalization. (1)

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite carried by cats, while cat scratch fever is caused by a bacteria carried by cats. So what is cat scratch disease in adults and how is it treated? I’m about to answer those questions and many more.

What Is Cat Scratch Fever?

Cat scratch fever is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted between animals and humans. Cat scratch fever is another name for cat scratch disease or subacute regional lymphadenitis, which is a bacterial infection spread by cats.

It is possible to get cat scratch fever from a bite or scratch from a cat infected with a bacterium called Bartonella henselae. You can also get this infection if saliva from an infected cat finds its way into an open wound or touches the whites of your eyes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 40 percent of cats are believed to carry Bartonella henselae at some point in their lives. Kittens under the age of 1 are most likely to be infected with Bartonella henselae. The strange thing is that most of the cats that carry this harmful bacteria exhibit zero signs of being sick. (2)

Cat bites can be problematic because cat’s teeth are so sharp that it’s not hard for them to puncture the skin and actually leave a wound that is surprisingly deep. The deeper a wound the more likely it is to get infected. When cats do bite, the majority of the time it’s a bite on the hand or the wrist. With these locations, it’s not hard for a cat to puncture a joint or the layer of membrane that covers a tendon. This means that the cat’s saliva has a chance to enter the sealed-off areas of joints and tendons, which make a prime breeding ground for the Bartonella bacteria that causes cat scratch fever. (3)

For people with a healthy normal immune system, cat scratch fever is typically not a serious condition. However, the severity of of the infection is typically worse for children and people with compromised immune systems.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms similar to cat scratch fever are said to have first been described all the way back in 1889 by Henri Parinaud. (4) So what does cat scratch fever look like? You may already be familiar with the redness and bumps that can easily be seen on the skin of an infected individual.

If you have cat scratch fever, then within 10 days a small raised bump typically appears at the site of injury whether it be a cat bite or cat scratch. As the infection progresses, more bumps can develop under the skin at the point of injury. In addition to these bumps, an infected person may also have a cat scratch disease rash on other areas of the body.

Cat scratch fever symptoms may include: (5)

  • A cat bite or scratch that becomes reddened and/or swollen within a few days and does not heal or gets worse over time
  • Painful and swollen lymph nodes, especially under the arms (if scratched on the arm or hand) or in the groin (if scratched on the foot or leg)
  • fever
  • chills
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • body rash
  • joint pain

Causes & Risk Factors

The specific problematic bacteria that causes cat scratch fever is Bartonella henselae. This bacteria can pass from an infected cat to a human when a cat breaches the skin’s outermost layer by biting or scratching. Another way this bacteria can enter the human body is if a cat’s saliva gets into an open wound. (6) This is why you should never allow a cat (or any animal, for that matter) lick any openings or lesions on the skin.

How do cats get this bacteria in the first place? Cats get the disease from contact with flea feces, which contains the Bartonella bacteria excreted by infected fleas. When cats groom themselves, they can unknowingly consume the flea feces left behind on their skin. Then they get infected with the bacteria themselves. (7)

In the U.S., cat scratch fever is seen most often in the fall and winter months. It’s also most common in children under the age of 15. It’s possible to get cat scratch fever from any cat of any age. Both domestic and feral cats can carry Bartonella henselae with kittens being the most likely cat group to have the bacteria. Stray cats are also found to carry the bacteria more often than pet cats. It’s also believed that humans may possibly get cat scratch fever as the result of being bitten by cat fleas that carry the bacteria. (8)

Risk factors for contracting cat scratch fever include: (9)

  • Owning a cat or being around cats on a regular basis, especially playful kittens that are more likely to accidentally scratch you
  • Not properly cleaning cat bites or scratches right away
  • Allowing a cat to lick open wounds
  • Being around a flea infestation
  • Being a child, especially under the age of 5 years old
  • Having a compromised immune system

Conventional Treatment

In order to determine if cat scratch fever is present, a doctor will typically examine the injury site and go over a patient’s symptoms. He or she will likely check the lymph nodes to see if they are swollen and/or tender. If a diagnosis of cat scratch disease is not clear, then a blood test may also be ordered.

Conventional cat scratch fever treatment depends upon a number of things including a patient’s age, medical history, current overall health, how bad the infection is, and the patient’s ability to handle certain procedures and/or medicine.  After evaluation, a doctor’s recommendation may include antibiotics for the infection. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “In most cases, no antibiotics are needed, and the infection will clear on its own.” (10)

With more severe cases of cat scratch fever, the lymph nodes are sometimes aspirated in an attempt to relieve the swelling and pain. However, this is typically not recommended due to possible complications. (11)

Can a cat get cat scratch fever? Yes, it is possible, but most of the time cats just carry the bacteria and don’t get sick or require any treatment. (12)

6 Natural Ways to Treat Cat Scratch Fever Symptoms

In general, you’ll want to boost your immune system to both reduce the likelihood of developing cat scratch fever and to fight off an infection. Here are some more specifics on how to best treat cat scratch fever using natural remedies:

  1. Proper wound care
  2. Hot compresses
  3. Raw garlic
  4. Manuka honey
  5. Essential oils
  6. Colloidal Silver

1. Proper Wound Care

The most important conventional and natural cat scratch treatment is to clean any type of scratch or bite from a cat immediately after receiving it. You should also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after having contact with a cat or kitten. If you have any kind of skin lesion and a cat licks it, then you should also wash this area thoroughly right away. In general, you should avoid having a cat lick you in the first place, especially where you have any openings in your skin, which includes scratches as well as your eyes, nose and mouth. (13)

2. Hot Compresses

Swollen lymph glands caused by cat scratch fever — or lymphadenitis — can be quite painful. To help relieve the swelling and pain you’re experiencing in your lymph nodes, you can periodically apply a warm, wet compress. You can simply dunk a washcloth in hot water, wring it out and apply it to the problem area. Of course, make sure the wash cloth is not too hot. (14, 15)

3.  Raw Garlic

Research has shown that raw garlic is powerful when it comes to fighting all kinds of infection. Raw garlic, especially its potent chemical known as allicin, has been shown in scientific research to have awesome antibacterial abilities. I recommend crushing and eating two to three raw garlic gloves daily until the infection clears. (16)

4. Manuka Honey

Using manuka honey both internally and externally can help to treat bacterial diseases like cat scratch fever.

According to scientific research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, manuka honey displays significant bactericidal activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause serious infections. Specifically, manuka honey has been shown to be effective against a variety of human pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli. In vivo studies have also shown that manuka honey can effectively treat infected wounds. (17)

When shopping for manuka honey, you’ll want to choose one that has a genuine UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating of UMF10 or higher. This rating ensures that the honey has significant antibacterial activity and is recognized by a licensed company in New Zealand.

5. Essential Oils

My own clinical practice, as well as medical literature, has shown me that tea tree, oregano, cinnamon and thyme essential oils are some of the best antibacterial essential oils when it comes to fighting off bacterial infections. For example, a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Microbiology reveals that oregano oil has potent antibacterial activity against a wide variety of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. Researchers tested oregano oil’s bacteria-killing ability against 17 different strains of bacteria and it was effective against all 17. (18)

If I were dealing with a cat scratch or bite, I would immediately wash it well and then I would mix one or a combination of these essentials oils just mentioned (for a total of 4 drops) with 1 teaspoon of manuka honey and/or coconut oil and apply it topically to the problem area two times per day.

6. Colloidal Silver

Similar to manuka honey, colloidal silver is often used both internally and externally to fight infections. Multiple studies have demonstrated that colloidal silver is an effective antimicrobial agent against many different strains of bacteria. (19, 20) What is an antimicrobial agent? It’s a substance that either kills or slows the growth of microbes.

For a cat bite or scratch, I would apply 2 to 5 drops of colloidal directly to the skin area twice a day. If you decide to take colloidal silver internally, just remember that you shouldn’t use colloidal silver for more than 14 days in a row.

How to Prevent Cat Scratch Fever

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What this means is that the best form of treatment is really preventing the problem in the first place. There are a lot of easy, natural ways to avoid cat scratch fever.

First off, always wash your hands well after having contact with a domesticated cat. What about stray and feral cats? You really shouldn’t be petting these cats at all. It’s recommended that you never allow a cat to lick you, especially on or around open wounds, as well as the eyes, nose and mouth. If a cat does lick one of these areas, wash it well right away.

Never tease a cat or kitten. If you have a cat, or are playing with someone else’s, it’s smart to play gently to make scratching or biting less likely. You should also ensure that you practice regular and proper flea control with your pet cat since that is the best way to decrease the likelihood that your cat will carry cat scratch fever bacteria. (21)

Precautions and Possible Complications

If you (or a loved one) are bitten or scratched by a cat and then develop any symptoms of cat scratch fever, contact your doctor immediately.

According to the CDC, serious, yet rare, complications of cat scratch fever are possible. Cat scratch fever can lead to negative effects on the brain, eyes, heart or other organs.  The most serious or complicated cases of cat scratch fever are more common in children under the age of 5, as well as anyone with a weakened immune system such as people with diabetes, HIV or AIDs, or cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. (22)

Two possible complications from cat scratch disease include Bacillary angiomatosis and Parinaud’s oculoglandular syndrome. Bacillary angiomatosis is a systemic illness that can affect internal organs and typically includes visible skin lesions that are red and raised with a scaly ring surrounding them. Parinaud’s oculoglandular syndrome is similar to conjunctivitis but also includes a fever and swollen lymph nodes in front of the ear on the same side as the problematic eye. (23)

Sometimes a cat that is harboring cat scratch fever bacteria may experience fever, swollen glands and some muscle aches or, in a worst case scenario, it could have inflammation of the heart, which causes breathing difficultly. Contact your vet if you are concerned your cat may have signs of cat scratch fever. (24)

Key Points

  • Cat scratch fever is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted between animals and humans.
  • It is possible to get cat scratch fever from a bite or scratch from a cat infected with a bacterium called Bartonella henselae.
  • You can also get this infection if saliva from an infected cat finds its way into an open wound or touches the whites of your eyes.
  • If you have cat scratch fever, then within 10 days a small raised bump typically appears at the site of injury, whether it is a cat bite or cat scratch.
  • As the infection progresses, more bumps can develop under the skin at the point of injury. Other symptoms may occur, such as a painful rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.

6 Ways to Manage Cat Scratch Fever Symptoms Naturally:

  1. Proper wound care
  2. Hot compresses
  3. Raw garlic
  4. Manuka honey
  5. Essential oils
  6. Colloidal Silver

6 Ways to Prevent Cat Scratch Fever:

  1. If you own a cat, practice proper flea control.
  2. Avoid playing with your cat in a way that encourages it to bite or scratch.
  3. Discourage your cat from licking your skin especially if you have a wound.
  4. Contact your vet if you are concerned your cat may have signs of cat scratch fever.
  5. If a cat bites or scratches you, make sure to clean the area immediately. Keep an eye on the wound and watch out for signs of cat scratch fever.
  6. If you develop any symptoms of cat scratch fever after a cat bite or scratch, contact your doctor immediately.

Read Next: Affects Humans & Pets: 6 Natural Ways to Avoid Leptospirosis

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90,000 Cat Scratch Disease (Felinosis): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment | doc.ua

When an infection enters the human body, inflammation of the regional lymph nodes occurs, which is accompanied by fever and intoxication, as well as the formation of a primary affect exactly in the place where the pathogen penetrated.

Cat scratch disease occurs and is diagnosed much more frequently in children than in adults. In medical practice, the possibility of transmitting this infection from a sick person to a healthy person has not been proven.The incidence rate remains stable throughout the year. A slightly larger surge is recorded in autumn and winter. This is due to the fact that rodents settle closer to human habitation.


The pathogen bacterium enters the human body through the skin scratched by animals, mucous membranes, in rare cases – through the conjunctiva, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract.

A few days later, a dense papule appears on the damaged area, in some cases it is ulcerated and covered with a crust.From the site of damage by the lympogenic pathways, the bacterium enters the regional lymph nodes. Here, the active multiplication of the pathogen takes place with the release of a toxin. As a result, adenitis develops – inflammation of the lymph nodes.

Without adequate therapy, a breakthrough of the lymphatic barrier is possible, which will lead to damage to the central nervous system, liver, spleen, and other organs and systems. Changes are found in the lymph nodes that lie in the immediate vicinity of the site of infection.Both one lymph node and a whole group of them may be affected.

Infected lymph nodes increase in size, they are moderately dense and adherent to each other. Upon opening, tissues of a dark red color are observed, homogeneous or interspersed with areas of necrosis, melting, which depends on the stage of the process. Over time, micro-abscesses can spread to the entire node, as well as the surrounding tissue. As a result, an inflammatory conglomerate is formed, which subsequently melts.In severe forms of the disease, the granulomatous process also occurs in other organs – the brain, lungs, liver, bones and other organs, which causes the development of such dangerous diseases as encephalitis, hepatitis, osteomyelitis, etc.


The incubation period lasts from 10 to 30 days, less often – 2 months. Benign lymphoreticulosis, as the disease is also called, begins acutely. Symptoms of cat scratch disease: the body temperature rises sharply to 38–39 ° C, slight malaise is observed, an increase in the regional lymph node or group of lymph nodes occurs.

Lymph nodes in the armpits, neck, less often groin, thigh, and under the jaw are more susceptible to infection.

Sometimes adenitis is localized in unusual places – in front of the auricle, under or above the collarbone.

The size of the affected lymph nodes reaches the size of a chicken egg, less often – an orange. They are sedentary and painful to the touch. Cat scratch disease is recognized by swollen lymph nodes.

Adenitis at the initial stage of the disease is often the only symptom, but at the peak of the disease, most patients have fever, muscle and headaches, and a deterioration in appetite.In some cases, intestinal dysfunction occurs, skin rashes resembling measles or scarlet fever. It is important that lymphadenitis appears much later than the primary affect, and the latter may be completely absent at the peak of the disease.

There are atypical forms of the disease – angioedema, glandular-ocular, abdominal, cerebral, pulmonary, etc. Clinical manifestations in such cases correspond to the lesion focus – encephalitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, mesentericitis, etc.

The disease lasts 3 or more months.In some cases, relapses occur with repeated suppuration.


The disease is diagnosed by the primary affect, which is found at the site of the bite or scratches of the animal, the presence of pronounced symptoms, a change in the composition of the blood.

An intradermal sample is taken to confirm the diagnosis. If the pathogen is present, it will be positive for 3-5 days from the onset of the disease and even after many years.


As part of the treatment of cat scratch disease, the patient receives mainly symptomatic treatment.

Uncomplicated forms of the disease are treated for 10-14 days with erythromycin (0.5 g 4 times a day), doxycillin (0.1 g 2 times a day), ciprofloxacin (0.5 g 2 times a day). Alternatively, tetracycline, azithromycin, ofloxacin, chloramphenicol can be used. However, these drugs do not always show their effectiveness.

Along with this, symptomatic agents, antihistamines, vitamins are prescribed. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used – voltaren, indomethacin.

Physiotherapy methods are used on the area of ​​infected lymph nodes – diathermy, UHF. In severe cases, a short course (up to 7 days) of corticosteroids is prescribed. In case of suppuration, pus is removed from the softened lymph node by incision or puncture.

With timely and adequate therapy, the prognosis of treatment is favorable. There is a gradual recovery of the patient and hardening of the affected lymph node.


To date, methods of specific prophylaxis against this disease have not been developed.The main safety precautions are to try to avoid cat bites and scratches.

How a kitten can harm a child: cat scratch disease | Zootopia

Few of the cat owners suspect that a pet can infect a person with a special bacterial infection. Since cats serve as its source, the disease was named so – felinosis, from the Latin “felis” – a cat. Its other name is benign lymphoreticulosis. The sore is not dangerous, but unpleasant.

How infection occurs

Cat scratch disease is caused by the bacterium Bartonella henselae.In cats, it almost never causes any symptoms, they are just carriers. Not all of them, but on average 3-4 cats out of 10 are infected with Bartonella during some time of life. Usually the infection is found in animals less than a year old, kittens.

Cats get an infection:

  • During contact with other cats (in fights)
  • With bites of parasitic insects (fleas).

A person becomes infected if an infected cat bites him or scratches him to the point of blood.Or he will lick the wound received by the owner independently of her.

Disease cannot enter the body through intact skin! Therefore, simple petting of the cat is absolutely safe.

Who is sick

Most often, the disease is recorded in children under 5 years of age. Among adults, symptoms of bartonellosis occur when the immune system is weakened (in the elderly, HIV-infected, during chemotherapy, etc.).

The kitten is not happy with such treatment

The kitten is not happy with such treatment


The symptoms appear a few days after the scratch, when it has healed a long time ago (sometimes the incubation period lasts up to 2 weeks).Sometimes a mild rash develops in the area where the skin has been damaged, this area can be red and swollen.

The rash is raised above the skin, the formation of pustules occurs – bubbles with pus. The lesion becomes hot and painful.

A sick person complains of a headache, the temperature rises, the appetite decreases sharply.

After another 1-4 weeks, the lymph nodes closest to the scratch site are affected. They greatly increase in size and hurt, and the skin above them reddens and swells.For example, if a hand is scratched, then a painful “bump” appears in the armpit.

Enlarged lymph node

Enlarged lymph node


Cat scratch disease is unpleasant for the patient, but doctors consider it a safe infection that goes away without treatment. True, this takes several months, up to six months! Doctors prescribe only antipyretic and pain relievers if necessary, and allergy medications if the patient complains of itching.

If the disease is severe or recurs, antibiotics are prescribed, usually azithromycin. Occasionally, surgical treatment of the affected lymph nodes is required.


1. Personal hygiene: wash hands with soap and water after playing with a cat. It is especially important to flush out the bite or scratch.

2. Do not provoke a pet into aggression, teach caution in playing with a person.

3. During the whole warm season, treat the cat from fleas with special means.

4. Do not allow children to play with stray kittens.

5. Trim the claws of domestic cats.

It is children who do not play very carefully with animals, and can easily provoke a cat to aggression. They especially love to play with kittens – after all, they are so cute .. and it is they who are more often the carrier of Bartonella than adult cats. For a kitten, biting or scratching a person is in the order of things, even if he is not angry, but just playing. Therefore, the task of parents is to teach the baby how to communicate correctly with a four-legged friend.

Why are cat scratches dangerous? – Tips

Domestic cats are the sweetest creatures. However, do not forget that these are not only playful and affectionate animals, but in some cases sources of an unpleasant infection.

In the heat of play, cats can bite and scratch their owners. Usually we do not attach much importance to such wounds, but in vain. Bites and scratches are one of the main routes of cat-to-human transmission. In modern medicine, there is the concept of “cat scratch disease” (BCC), it is also called felinosis (bartonellosis).The causative agent of the disease is the bacterium Bartonella.

Causative agent

Many cats are carriers of bartonella, the causative agent of bartonellosis, both animals and humans are ill with it.

The microbe enters the body of cats through a flea bite, as well as through ingestion of infected parasites or their excrement. It lives in blood, saliva, urine and even on its paws.

Important. The risk group includes children, the elderly, people who have had a serious illness – that is, everyone who has a weakened immune system.The disease is not transmitted from person to person.

Symptoms of the disease

The incubation period, that is, the time from infection to the appearance of clear signs of bartonellosis, lasts from several days to several weeks. At the same time, the scratch or bite has already healed, nothing indicates a disease. And then the disease makes itself felt by swelling or swelling at the site of the scratch / bite, suppuration, swelling of the lymph nodes. Sometimes an allergic reaction begins, the temperature rises, signs of toxicosis appear.

The disease can occur in typical and atypical forms.

Typical form

The disease develops gradually. At the site of the healed scratch, a small bubble appears, then a sore, but the general state of health remains good. After some time (from 10 days to 1.5 months), the lymph nodes closest to the bite / wound site increase. The lymph node becomes soft and painful, increases to 3-10 cm, sometimes suppuration occurs, the lymph node can open itself.

In the course of the illness, the temperature may rise (up to 38–41 °), signs of intoxication may appear (weakness, headache, decreased appetite, increased sweating, minor pain in the abdomen, muscles, etc.). This condition lasts up to two weeks, inflammation of the lymph nodes – up to 4 months. Felinosis self-cures in 3–6 months (with complications it lasts up to a year). After an illness, a person develops strong immunity.

Atypical form

Fortunately, this is rare, usually in children and people with low immunity.Atypical signs appear after swollen lymph nodes.

When bacteria enter the eye (the pet can lick you), conjunctivitis develops, nodules and sores form around the eye, the temperature rises, general malaise begins, the submandibular and parotid lymph nodes increase, sometimes with suppuration. With complications, temporary loss of vision in one eye is possible. After a while (from several weeks to several months), complete recovery occurs.


It is not easy to establish a diagnosis, since the signs of bartonellosis are characteristic of other diseases as well. Most often, victims do not associate cat bites and scratches with their condition in any way. Therefore, laboratory tests are needed, tests must be done and the pathogen must be identified.


In its typical form, the disease goes away on its own after a while. In case of complications, do not pull, seek medical attention.Doctors will conduct research and prescribe treatment. Hospitalization is required only for severe forms of the disease and the presence of immunodeficiency. A person with felinosis is not contagious to other people.


The best way to prevent disease is through prevention.

There is one single rule: destroy fleas on your pet’s body with special drops, sprays or tablets.

Remember that children are the most vulnerable at risk.Explain to them not to touch strangers and street cats.

If you are bitten or scratched by a cat:

  • Do not rush to fill the wound with iodine or brilliant green. Allow a small amount of blood to drain from the wound; pathogenic microbes are flushed out of the wound with the blood.
  • After a small amount of blood has drained off, wash the damaged area thoroughly with soap and water, it is advisable to use ordinary laundry soap, which is sold in all stores and markets.In this way, you remove as many microbes as possible from the surface of the skin and from the wound.
  • After you have washed everything thoroughly, treat the wound with any disinfectant. I advise everyone to keep ordinary 3% hydrogen peroxide at home, which kills pathogens by almost 100%.
  • Finally, apply iodine to the wound.

Felinosis in humans is rare and is not such a dangerous disease as to prevent us from continuing to love our baleen-striped ones.

Hey, we love our pussies!

Anton Koteikin, a consultant of the samizoo.ru online store, was with you.

symptoms, how it manifests itself and what to do

In recent years, there has been a constant increase in the number of people who have an increased sensitivity of the body’s immune system to various substances harmless and harmless to humans (plant pollen, certain foods, medicines, and others) and at present time, allergic reactions are observed in every fourth inhabitant of the Earth, and allergic reactions to cats – in approximately every tenth.

Unfortunately, cat allergy is also a common condition affecting both adults and children. If an adult, knowing about the peculiarities of his body, never dares to have a cat, then parents will find out about the presence of an allergy to an animal in children only after a fluffy beauty appears in the house. In addition, the cat can live in the house long before the birth of the child, and the baby shows allergies immediately after arriving home from the hospital.

What causes cat allergy

Quite often, allergies are inherited, but even in this case, various substances can act as allergens for parents and children.Contrary to popular belief, the allergic reaction does not occur to the cat’s fur, but to the proteins of Felis Domesticus Allergen contained in saliva, urine and exfoliated skin scales. Small particles of this substance are found not only on the cat’s fur, but also settle on the floor, pieces of furniture and even the baby’s bed. In addition to allergens secreted by the animal’s body, a cat walking on the street can bring on its paws and skin pollen, mold spores and other substances that cause allergic reactions.In addition, allergies can occur to pet food or litter for the litter box.

Signs of a child’s allergy to a cat

An allergic reaction of the body to a cat can manifest itself almost immediately after contact or stay in the same room with the animal, or after a few hours. Signs of a child’s allergy to a cat can be easily confused with symptoms of colds or infectious diseases, since the main manifestations of the body’s reaction to substances of an antigenic nature are:

  • Redness of the mucous membrane of the eyes, lacrimation.
  • Within a few minutes after contact, allergens can cause sneezing and heavy nasal discharge similar to a runny nose.
  • Difficulty breathing and dry cough may occur.
  • After playing with a cat in places of scratches and bites, severe itching and redness of the adjacent skin occurs.
  • Lethargy, drowsiness, loss of energy.
  • Redness and itching around the eyes and nose.
  • Skin rashes.

A child can be allergic to a cat at any age, but most often occurs between 3 and 7 years of age.In some children, allergies develop gradually and the first signs appear only after several years of communication with a pet. Recent studies have shown that children, from the first months of life, in contact with a cat, as they grow up, are less susceptible to illness, which is explained by the addiction and adaptation of the child’s body to the biological substances secreted by the cat.

Allergy to cats in children does not have any specific signs, therefore, only an allergist can determine exactly which substance an allergic reaction occurs to after conducting allergy diagnostics (skin tests and blood tests).The technique of skin tests, namely the scarified method, allows manipulations to be performed almost painlessly for the child: a shallow scratch is applied to the skin and moistened with a small amount of a solution containing potential allergens (up to five varieties). The reaction of the body manifests itself after 15-20 minutes, in the case of the presence of an allergen in the solution, reddening of the skin in the area of ​​the scratch is observed.

You can independently determine what exactly caused such a reaction of the body’s immune system, you can try experimentally, transferring the cat to relatives or friends for a while and observing the reaction of the baby’s body.If the signs of allergy do not disappear, then the cat has nothing to do with it and the cause of the disease lies in something else, and the animal can be returned to the house with a clear conscience.

It is better to purchase a kitten together with children. This will not only allow the baby to feel involved in such a significant event and choose “his” kitten, but will also enable parents to observe the reaction of the child’s body to direct contact with the animal. Even if the child does not have allergic reactions, it is recommended to agree with the breeder about the possibility of returning the kitten before taking the kitten, since the allergy can develop even after a longer communication with the pet.

How to deal with cat allergies

Unfortunately, a cure for allergies has not yet been developed and antihistamines are mainly used to combat the manifestations of allergies, the action of which is aimed at eliminating symptoms such as itching, skin rashes, swelling of mucous membranes, and others. If a child is allergic to a cat, then the most radical method of dealing with the disease is to exclude communication with the animal. In the case when parents are just going to buy a pet, you can opt for a puppy (in this case, the likelihood of allergic reactions is reduced several times) or another animal.However, there are times when a cat has been living in the house for many years and has become a full-fledged member of the family, which cannot be passed on to the wrong hands or, moreover, to a shelter. In such a situation, a set of measures should be taken to help reduce the concentration of allergens in the house to a minimum level:

  • Try to get rid of furnishings that can accumulate allergenic components (carpets, bedspreads, rugs). If possible, replace fabric upholstered furniture with leather.
  • Maintain cleanliness, regularly dust off even in hard-to-reach places, do wet cleaning daily, wash curtains, curtains and bed linen as often as possible.
  • Bathe your cat at least once a week.
  • Brush the coat daily, carry out the procedure when children are away.
  • Change litter in the tray as often as possible, preferably after each visit with the cat. Purchase a closed-type tray and place it in a secluded place.
  • Install an air purifier and ventilate all rooms daily.
  • Limit contact of the child with the cat and do not involve him in the duties of caring for the animal.
  • Do not place food bowls, bedding or cat toys in your baby’s room, and do not let your baby sleep with the cat.
  • Antihistamines should always be available in the home.

If a cat allergy in children is accompanied by laryngeal edema, allergic asthma or other life-threatening symptoms, then even if all precautions are taken, the risk of keeping a cat in the house is not justified.

Hypoallergenic cat breeds – myth or reality?

Anyone wanting to find a non-allergenic cat should be disappointed – there are no such cats. At the same time, the level of concentration of the allergen depends on many factors, for example, the following animals are much less dangerous for children with allergies:

  • Cats and cats that have been neutered or neutered prior to puberty.
  • Kittens produce far fewer allergens, but the number increases with age.
  • Cats produce less allergen than cats.
  • Animals with light colored coats.

Often, representatives of hairless breeds (Don and Canadian Sphynxes, Peterbalds, Lycoes and others), as well as cats with short curly hair (Cornish Rex, Devon Rex) are also considered hypoallergenic. This is not entirely true, these cats also produce allergens, however, the amount of Felis Domesticus Allergen protein is slightly less, and it is much easier to keep the skin of these cats always clean.

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For example, if the digestive tract is dysfunctional, called dysbiosis, the absorption of nutrients decreases. As a result, vitamins and minerals enter the deep layers of the skin in insufficient quantities, which manifests itself in a variety of skin diseases, thinning of the nail plate and hair loss. Skin rashes are well treated with a properly selected vitamin complex and a balanced diet.

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It should be noted that skin diseases can be both a consequence of disturbances in the functioning of the organs responsible for detoxification of the body, which include the liver and kidneys, and as a result of the development of infections and the accumulation of their waste products, which cause various allergic reactions in the form of skin diseases.

Another “internal allergen” is helminths and fungal cultures. Their reproduction provokes the accumulation of a foreign protein in the body, which causes a rash on the skin and other unpleasant phenomena.That is why, in most cases, there is a direct relationship between acne and vaginal microflora disorders caused by candida fungi.

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What diseases can you get from animals

Pets are like family members to us. We let them sleep in our beds, play with children, kiss them, and so on. Few people think that a cute puppy or kitten can cause serious illness.

But this is not a reason to abandon a small family member. It is enough to know what dangers may lie in wait for pet owners, as well as to take the necessary measures to prevent them.

No matter how scary it sounds, but almost all animals are carriers of potentially dangerous infections and parasites for us. Veterinarian Yekaterina Ermashkevich (Ivanovo) is sure that many diseases of animals get sick precisely because of people. It turns out a vicious circle: people infect animals, and then they themselves become infected.

– For example, domestic cats do not walk on the street. And we walk. And we bring pathogens into the house. Therefore, you should not blame your pet for the fact that you fell ill with ringworm – you yourself could have brought the spores of the fungus into the apartment.In my practice, I had to deal with diseases that animals infected their owners. Among them are chlamydia, lichen, toxoplasmosis, helminthiasis, – the doctor comments.

But first things first.


We have all heard of such a disease as ringworm . It can be carried by both cats and dogs and rodents. Human infection occurs through contact with a sick animal: stroking, sitting next to.The lichen begins with the appearance of red painful seals on the skin. When pressing on the hair follicles, pus is released on the skin. A neglected disease leads to baldness of the affected area, since the causative agent of the disease penetrates into the deep layers of the skin and causes its inflammation.

Another dangerous infectious disease – tuberculosis . “Cats are susceptible to the causative agent of the human species. Cats and humans are sensitive to the bovine pathogen, but birds are immune.Birds are sensitive to the causative agent of the bird species, and very rarely other mammals, animals and humans are infected with it, ”says Yekaterina Ermashkevich.

The most common disease that an animal transmits to humans is helminthiasis .

– In a cat, for example, a common parasite is worms. Animals can become infected through the milk of an infected mother. Eaten flies, spiders, raw meat and fish, as well as accidentally swallowed worm eggs, for example from your shoes, can be a source of infection.The accumulation of helminths in the intestine can cause it to rupture, which will inevitably lead to the death of the animal. Therefore, even if the cat never leaves the house, timely deworming is very important, the veterinarian notes.

Cat scratch fever is an acute infectious disease. You can suspect an infection by the following symptoms. The site of the bite or scratch heals slowly, a skin rash appears, then an increase in lymph nodes occurs, accompanied by a general deterioration of the condition, including fever.The increase in temperature lasts from a week to a month, while the rest of the symptoms disappear within two weeks.

Rabies is the most dangerous disease that is transmitted with saliva by a bite or through abrasions and wounds on the skin and mucous membranes. Rabies serum can save your life only if it is made no later than 72 hours after the bite.

Two diseases that are transmitted from animals are especially dangerous for pregnant women – toxoplasmosis and chlamydia.

Toxoplasmosis animals and humans become infected by eating raw meat, as well as by accidental ingestion of oocysts. Chlamydia is transmitted from cat to person by airborne droplets.

While bathing your pet in natural waters, the animal can pick up leptospirosis . The disease is also known as canine typhus, although all types of mammals can get it. Leptospirosis is transmitted to humans through water or through contact with the saliva or urine of an unhealthy animal.


The most common infections in birds are chlamydia, salmonellosis, cryptosporadiosis and others.

Chlamydia (psittacosis) is widespread. A sick bird plays the role of a reservoir of disease, and a person becomes infected by inhaling dust, which includes particles of droppings. The microorganism is released into the environment through both droppings and nasal secretions. The bird can remain a carrier of the disease for years.Chlamydia can be transmitted from bird to bird, from bird to person, and from person to person through saliva.

Chlamydia is an occupational disease of people working with parrots and pigeons.

Salmonellosis is transmitted through droppings. The shedding of bacteria by a sick person can last from several days to several weeks. In some cases, infected people can shed bacteria for life.

There is also cryptosporadiosis, which causes respiratory problems in chickens and turkeys.Provokes gastroenteritis and diarrhea.


Undoubtedly, this is information for thought, and not a reason to give up pets. Ekaterina Ermashkevich is sure that it is enough to adhere to several rules for keeping her pets.

– Observe good hygiene when caring for animals, wash your hands after removing cages, trays and contact with them. For toxoplasmosis, chlamydia and worm eggs, take tests immediately after purchasing the animal.Vaccinate them regularly and give anthelmintic drugs. People also shouldn’t neglect regular deworming. Protect your cat from hunting wild rodents – they are a natural reservoir of many dangerous diseases for animals and people. Buy quality products. Remember, prevention is always cheaper than cure. Don’t forget to vaccinate your pets, she adds.

There is another reason to have pets. Studies have been conducted that have found that cats help in the treatment of neuroses and depression.Experts also claim that a cat can rid a person of alcoholism and even drug addiction. Dogs are used to improve the condition of children with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy (CP). In children, coordination of movements, memory improves. Canistherapy is well established for improving psychological well-being in hospices and psychiatric clinics. American scientists have conducted a study and found that dogs are able to protect children from eczema and asthma. And horses are also recognized as healers.Horses are good helpers in rehabilitation after injuries and traumas, and communication with them is also beneficial for children with autism.

Be attentive to your family members and animals. If you feel unwell and your pet, see a doctor immediately.