Could Contact With a Cat Leave You Blind?

Photo (cc) by zaimoku_woodpile

It took doctors months to diagnose an Ohio woman who woke up blind in one eye.

Janese Walters tells Toledo News Now that she initially thought it was pinkeye.

It turned out to be cat-scratch disease, a bacterial infection spread by some cats. Walters likely was infected when her cat licked the woman’s eye.

Dr. Kristopher R. Brickman, medical director of emergency services at the University of Toledo College of Medicine, tells Toledo News Now that the bacteria comes from cats’ saliva and can be on their fur too.

“Anything that is exposed to the cat’s mouth, including if you have a little scratch that the cat licks — that’s how you can get it.”

Brickman says about 40 percent of cats carry the bacteria, which does not harm the animal itself.

In some cases, the bacteria can affect human eyes because it expands blood vessels. It can also cause liver problems and — if it enters the spinal fluid — meningitis, Brickman says.

A mild infection can appear at the site of the scratch or bite about three to 14 days later, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The area might feel warm or painful and appear “swollen and red with round, raised lesions.”

Symptoms can include also fever, headache, poor appetite and exhaustion. Eventually, lymph nodes near the infection site can become swollen, tender or painful. (Lymph nodes are part of the immune system and found throughout the body.)

To protect against cat-scratch disease, the CDC suggests that you:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water after playing with a cat.
  • Keep cats’ nails trimmed.
  • Avoid getting bitten or scratched by a cat — don’t play rough.
  • Don’t allow a cat to lick open wounds.
  • If a cat bites or scratches you, wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Avoid cats that are less than 1 year old if you have a weakened immune system because they are more likely to carry and spread the bacteria.

Like this story? SHARE it on Facebook!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery

Amazon’s new pharmacy is hardly the first to offer free shipping.

Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep
Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep

A study finds 96% of retirees make this mistake when claiming Social Security benefits.

5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes
5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes

Here’s how to keep Uncle Sam’s mitts away from your nest egg.

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

The 14 Most Deadly Car Models
The 14 Most Deadly Car Models

These vehicles are involved in fatal accidents at least twice as often as the average car.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

Prices Are Soaring on These 7 Items
Prices Are Soaring on These 7 Items

Some surprise price jumps are making life more difficult for consumers.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021
7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021

These projects will take a bigger bite out of your budget than in the recent past.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.