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Study shows cat bites may be just as dangerous as dog bites

Most people across Florida know that a property owner is responsible for maintaining safe premises. Failing to do so can leave them open to liability, especially if injuries are suffered on their property. And while most people often think of slips and falls when they think of premises liability, it’s worth noting that the actions of a person’s pet can also lead to liability as well.

Because of media coverage and the number of animal bite cases that are reported across the nation, most people assume that a dog is the only pet that can land a property owner in legal hot water. Although dog bites are considered among many to be the most common type of animal bite, it’s worth noting that cat bites are a liability as well, even though they may look unassuming.

Unlike a dog, which can tear a person’s flesh and even break their bones, a cat’s teeth merely puncture the skin. But these small wounds pack a big punch, say many doctors who point out that cat’s mouths contain considerable amounts of bacteria. And because puncture wounds are much more difficult to clean, infections are incredibly common for cat bite victims.

In a recent issue of The Journal of Hand Surgery, researchers looked at cases of cat bites spanning three years. In a majority of cases, researchers found that many patients needed to be hospitalized because of infections caused by cat bites. This was due in part to a particular bacterium that is found in the mouths of up to 90 percent of healthy cats.

Although the infections can be treated, it’s important to remember that medical treatment does not come without its cost nor does it relinquish liability either, meaning a cat bite victim may seek compensation to cover treatment costs from the pet’s owner.

Source: New York Times, “Beware of a Cat’s Bite,” Nicholas Bakalar, Feb. 13, 2014

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