I consider myself to be a very competent cat groomer. In fact, I am proud to say that I recently became a Certified Master Cat Groomer through the Professional Cat Groomers Association of America (www.professionalcatgroomers.com)
In the last 26 years I have groomed countless felines, and currently I sometimes groom 5 or more per day. One of my customers fondly refers to me as "the cat mutterer." I like to joke that God gives different people different gifts; some have the gift to teach, some the gift to create, some to make buckets of money. My gift? I have a way with cats. (God does have a sense of humor!) Skill and experience aside, yesterday I let my guard down and was bitten. It wasn't a bad bite, really. I was just doing a final comb through on a very sweet long haired cat when he suddenly decided he'd had enough and gave me one quick bite to middle finger on my right hand. He bit with no real warning, and his fang went deep.
I put the cat in his carrier and practiced good first aid. For animal bites the following procedure is recommended: wash the wound with very warm water and soap, antibacterial soap if you have it. Flush the wound with betadine. Encourage bleeding (to flush bacteria out.) Do not attempt to close the wound, allowing it to drain is best. Apply antibiotic ointment and bandage. I did all of those things, and the wound did not hurt much.
However, a few hours later it began to ache and my finger was noticeably swollen. Cats carry a bacteria called Pasteurella multocida (and sometimes Staph, as well) in their mouths, and those long narrow teeth of theirs inject the bacteria deep into our tissue when we receive a bite. One source I read said that up to 80% of cat bites result in serious infection, and 6% require hospitalization.
My message here? Don't mess around with cat bites. If you are bitten, take immediate proper care of the wound and if you notice pain, swelling or redness, seek medical attention. I am not a real fan of going to the doctors, but I went yesterday. I am taking a walloping dose of antibiotics and he was adamant that I not work or use my hand for 72 hours. I have not missed a day of work due to illness in 10 years or so, but today I am home on the sofa surrounded my snoring dogs and typing with one hand. The doctor said to me, (and I pass on to you,) "This is your livelihood. Don't take your injury lightly."