I adopted a kitten from the animal shelter about a month ago, and now I am covered with scratches, scars, and puncture wounds. Cats can and do attack, and many cat owners can attest to this fact, but are cats actually dangerous? You’d be surprised how much damage the average house cat can do.

Some don’t think of cat attacks as dangerous, but infection from cat bites pose great danger. While attacks usually leave small puncture wounds, 90 percent of cat bites drive pathogenic bacteria deep into the skin. Left untreated, the infection can become serious in 24 to 48 hours. People have had to have surgery to stop the spread of infection. With that in mind, can you file a lawsuit if attacked by a cat?


Can You File a Lawsuit for a Cat Attack?

Most people think of dogs when they think of animal attack lawsuits. Dogs display greater aggression and can cause more damage from their bites, but you shouldn’t think of cats as completely safe either. As the above highlights, cat attacks can prove just as dangerous. 

You rarely hear of lawyers representing people for cat attacks, but it does happen. 


The Nature of Cats

Dogs have bigger and more powerful bodies. Cats realize they are no match for humans and usually hide, rather than attack, even when they feel threatened. You don’t encounter aggressive territorial behavior in cats like you would with dogs. It happens but rarely. 

Because cats usually don’t seek to attack, that gives the cat owner more legal room than dog owners. You will have an especially hard time with a personal injury lawsuit if the cat has a normally friendly demeanor. When the cat displays a rare form of aggression, the courts usually look on the cat owner with more favor than a dog owner. 


Negligence is No Excuse

Just because cat owners receive greater leeway than dog owners doesn’t mean that they can’t have a lawsuit filed against them. In cases with aggressive cats that react violently in the presence of people, the cat owner has a legal obligation to protect their guests. Failure to take precautions can lead to a successful lawsuit if the cat attacks someone. 

To give an example of negligence, you have a cat known for aggression toward people. The cat attacks someone because the owner didn’t confine the cat or even warn them. That proves solid legal ground. The cat owner acted negligently because they knew of the risks and failed to take precautions. In cat attacks like that, they could face a lawsuit for negligence if it causes any harm. 

As we said, the greatest danger of cat attacks comes from bacterial infections. 


The Costs: Don’t Underestimate Them

Jose Encarnado was feeding his neighbor’s cat while they went on vacation. During the feeding, the cat bit his finger. Within 24 hours, Encarnado developed a fever and an infection that sent him to the hospital. A small gesture of kindness led to a $48,000 medical bill and surgery. 

Cat bites can lead to nerve damage, lacerations, and disfigurement. You have to take it seriously. Treatment costs a lot, but you have cases where it costs more to ignore it. In some cases, you may have a right to compensation if the cat owner acted negligently in some way. 


Seek Legal Advice

Speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. The statute of limitations provides more time for a personal injury claim, but failure to act quickly enough can mean that you don’t receive compensation. Request to speak with a lawyer so that they can learn the specifics of your case. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of a cat attack. You have people who put off treatment because they didn’t think of it as serious. It led to a bacterial infection that was very serious and costly. A quick medical response lowers the risk of a medical emergency.