Cat scratch disease, or cat scratch fever, is caused by bacteria. Although, your cat has around a 50-50 chance of carrying this infection at some point in their lives, it does not make them sick. And kittens are more likely to be carriers.
A scratch or bite by your cat, while its unknowingly infected, may cause a mild infection around the skin break area. In response, your lymph nodes swell, particularly the nodes around your head, neck and arms.
Other symptoms beyond lymph node swelling include:
Cat scratch fever disease is usually not serious and medical treatment is not typically required. It can cause more serious complications in those with weakened immune systems, and thus antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
The best prevention measure for avoiding cat scratch disease’s bacteria is:
- no cat, especially kitten, “rough play”
- do not allow your cat to lick an open wound
If you do get a cat scratch or bite, wash it well with soap and water.