An infected cat bite may appear red, swollen and inflamed, and it may show red streaks close to the bitten area or pus flowing from the wound, according to Healthline. An infected animal bite typically causes pain, tenderness or lack of sensation around the bite.
A person with an infected animal bite on the hand usually experiences restricted use of the limb, states Healthline. It is also possible to experience fever, muscle weakness, breathing trouble, fatigue or swollen lymph nodes.
Compared to dog bites, cat bites have higher chances of causing an infection because cats have sharp teeth capable of creating deep puncture wounds that are tough to clean, as Healthline explains. Cat bites tend to heal rapidly while trapping bacteria inside the wounds. Most animals bite a person's hands or fingers, which are body parts that struggle with combating an infection. Infections occur when bacteria penetrate the skin and multiply in the body, and swelling, inflammation and other symptoms result from the body's immune response to fight the infection.
Animal bite infections require prompt treatment because they can lead to dangerous medical problems, as Healthline warns. They usually progress within 24 to 48 hours. Doctors diagnose an animal bite infection by asking for information concerning the animal and ordering an X-ray or blood tests. They may prescribe antibiotics and a tetanus booster to treat an infection.