Infected Cat Bite

Torey Posts: 5,502 admin
edited April 14 in General Health

My usually loving cat bit me the other day. We'd been away so maybe she was mad at us. However, this is what I did wrong and then what I did to correct it. Not saying that this will work for other bites or other infections. Just wanted to post what I have done in case it might help others.

First I just wiped away the blood spots and then put on some salve. Wrong! And I know better!

I should have cleaned the wounds with an antiseptic and then let it bleed out until it stopped on its own to clean out any nasties.

So it became infected. Almost right away. Within 4 hours the one tooth mark had sealed over and my hand was hot, very red and very swollen.

First thing, a pot of hot water & Epsom salts for a soak to help open the wound. Then some Oregon Grape root tincture to clean it. Next a poultice of powdered Epsom salts mixed with glycerin (this is a very old poultice that any good pharmacist at a compounding pharmacy should know how to make). By the next morning when I took the poultice off, it was oozing pus (good sign). I squeezed at it a bit to get some of it out, more soaking, more OG tincture and repeated poultices. I've also been taking a combination tincture of Echinacea & Goldenseal internally; 1:1, 1 ml, 3x daily. I considered a homeopathic remedy but it wasn't necessary. I had one chosen if needed.

This morning (now two days after the bite), the heat and redness are greatly reduced and locallized to the immediate bite area. The swelling is minimal and no more throbbing pain. I will continue with the soakings, poultices, OG and internal tincture for the rest of today to make sure all of the infection is gone. No pharmaceutical antibiotics, tetanus shot or pain killers necessary!


  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Torey thank you for sharing this. It will definitely be something I will reference if I ever have a family member that finds themselves in a similar situation. Please keep us updated on the healing process.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin
    edited April 3

    Such great information, @Torey ! Glad all is well, and thank you so much for sharing your wisdom -- I just love reading your posts. :)

  • DozenElk
    DozenElk Posts: 6 ✭✭✭


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @DozenElk. I used Oregon Grape root (Mahonia aquifolium) for the berberine content. So anything that contains berberine could be used. Those plants include barberry (Berberis vulgaris), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), goldthread (Coptis chinensis), etc. This was also the reason I chose an internal tincture with the goldenseal in it.

    Grapes themselves may have antimicrobial properties against some organisms, especially in the skins, but I don't know of any medicinal uses for the roots of any Vitis species, wild or domestic.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin

    @Torey thank you for posting it. I have two cats, so one never knows. I might need to learn from your experience. And we do travel 😊

  • Hi! I just joined and have no idea yet how to navigate this entire site, so please forgive me! I use raw honey on topical infections, and it works well. I drizzle some on a bandage, slap it on, wrap if necessary (like for an ankle), take dressing off and air out in evening, then re-dress it. I had two nasty infections, and it took about a week- an average run of antibiotics- and I was healed. We have dogs and cats, and both of these were from one of my dogs. Feel better!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    Hi @Stef the Looney Bassoonist. Welcome to the forum. Glad to have you here.

    When you have a chance, let us know where in the world you are from. I'll leave a link to our Introductions section.

    This is a link to "Our Front Porch Welcome" where you can find tutorials and FAQ on navigating the site.

    Honey is an amazing antibacterial agent.

    My bite was a deep puncture so more difficult to get anything into it. That's why I used a drawing poultice.

    Update: The bite has completely healed. No lasting effects.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin

    @Stef the Looney Bassoonist hello from me as well. I believe in honey and its healing powers. I also use it on wounds.

    @Torey glad to hear that your wound has healed.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    @DozenElk   @Stef the Looney Bassoonist  Welcome to the TGN forum!

    We have used honey & have used broadleaf plantain for various wounds (one was a nail wound), with great success, both on us and on chickens & ducks. Some of those birds were very beat up. They had the will to pive & we helped with the rest. You use what you have available!

    @Torey  I am glad all is healed. Thanks for sharing what you did right, but also what you had done wrong & what the result is if you don't take proper steps. Both are a good lesson!

  • Sheila
    Sheila Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Our mistakes are sometimes our greatest teacher (or reminder!) Thank you for the information - with 4 cats and 2 dogs it will come in handy :)

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭

    That's a really informative walk through, thank you. Extremely useful information for infection.

    Would yarrow have worked well to clean the wound here as well? I don't usually have Oregon grape root....

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @nicksamanda11 Yarrow is a good antibacterial wound wash however, in this case I should have allowed it to bleed out for a bit and yarrow might have inhibited that. Also, I wanted a really powerful antibacterial agent for this bite. Anything with berberine could have been used, including the tincture I took internally.

    Everyone should invest in a bottle of something with berberine (I've mentioned a few above) to have on hand for stubborn infections. Berberine has been shown effective in treating strain of multi-drug resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,482 admin

    @Torey thanks for sharing & importantly how you managed it. While we were away our house sitter got bitten by our cat, there was a snake involved also!! (No one got bitten by the snake) her hand blew up & she ended up going to a doctor & had 2 courses of antibiotics. What other tinctures would be good to keep on hand as antiseptics? I thought Usnea might work.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @JodieDownUnder Sorry to hear about your house sitter. And a snake! Oh, my.

    Besides anything with berberine, I would (and do) keep tinctures made from some of the resins and gums. If I hadn't had Oregon grape or goldenseal, I would have reached for my bottle of myrrh.

    I haven't done this yet, but will be tincturing some of the pitch from local trees to experiment with. A study at UBC on the properties of pitches from BC conifers, indicated that spruce was the broadest spectrum antimicrobial, killing or inhibiting all organisms it was exposed to.

    In your area, Jodie, you might want to seek out red gum. I'm not familiar with all its uses but there has been research indicating antibacterial activity supporting the indigenous use for treating wounds. I'd tincture it for the purpose.

    Yarrow has been mentioned as a wound wash. Usnea can be used as a wound wash, although it may not be as effective with gram negative bacteria as it is with gram positive bacteria. Kalmia, Hudson's Bay tea (Ledum species), alder and ajuga (bugleweed) are all good wound washes. Echinacea has antibacterial properties as well as immune boosting and seems to be very effective on insect or snake bites. Even some of the kitchen herbs would work in a wash; thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, etc. Garlic and onions are both highly antimicrobial. I could have made a poultice with garlic. Of course, plantain is something that I could have used as a drawing poultice, however, I didn't have any available. There are others that I'm just not thinking of right now.

    Honey is a great antibacterial agent, in particular, Manuka honey if you can get it.

    This isn't a herb but something else you may want to have on hand. Colloidal silver can be used as a wash. An herbalist friend of mine uses it for deep wounds so I could have used it in this case. My mind just didn't go there. Silver is in a wide number of bandage products for preventing or healing infected wounds.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭
  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @nicksamanda11 Bidens is also a good antibacterial agent, but similarly to Usnea, it is most effective against gram positive bacteria. Good for topical Staphylococcus infections. Its something to consider, especially if it is what you have at hand. I could have used something like Spanish Needles or Yarrow as a wash in between my soakings or perhaps as part of the soaking. But my go-to for broad spectrum is any sort of berberine containing plant.