Cat-scratch fever, formally known as cat-scratch disease or CSD, is a bacterial infection that is spread from kitties.
This bacterial infection is able to be spread to humans through scratching and biting.
What is Cat-Scratch Fever?
The bacterial infection is called by the Bartonella henselae, which is a bacterium that is found in up to 40% of the cat population at some point during their life.
Kittens who are less than a year old are more likely, compared to older cats, to carry the infection and spread it to the humans around them.
Unfortunately, the majority of cats who carry the bacteria will show no symptoms or general signs of illness.
How the Bacterial Infection Presents Itself
Cats become infected with the bacterial infection through the bites and droppings of fleas within any open wounds.
The germs are then spread to humans due to a cat having the droppings in their saliva and their nails.
Symptoms of Cat-Scratch Fever
Even though symptoms do not present themselves in the cats who are infected with the bacterium, once a human is infected, a lot of symptoms will show in the infected person.
- Mild infection of the infection site – bitten or scratched area
- Poor appetite
- Lymph nodes close to infection site becoming swollen, painful, and/or tender
This is very rare, but some cats can deal with heart inflammation when infected with the bacteria. This can cause labored breathing, as a result. The infection can present itself in the eyes, urinary system, and the mouth, too.
In humans, the infection can affect internal organs, the eyes, the brain, etc. Children and adults with weak immune systems can require intensive treatment in order to combat cat-scratch fever properly.
How to Avoid Cat-Scratch Fever
The best way to avoid becoming infected with cat-scratch fever is to wash any scratches or bites with warm, soapy water.
If you have any open wounds for whatever reason, do not let your kitten or older cat lick them.