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Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease or cat scratch fever is spread from cats to humans. 40% of cats carry this disease at some time in their lives but many don’t look sick.


How can I get sick?  

Cats get the disease through flea bites or flea poop. They can also get Cat Scratch Disease by fighting with other cats that have the disease. Humans then get the disease through a scratch or bite from a cat that is sick.  

Symptoms in humans: 

  • Infected* area where you were scratched or bitten by a sick cat
  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal)
  • Headache
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Feeling very tired and sleepy

Symptoms in cats: 

Most cats do not look sick. However, some cats may have: 

  • Inflammation* of heart 
  • Hard time breathing 
  • Infection* may move to the mouth, urinary system (consists of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra) or eyes.  
  • Inflammation* of cat organs 

What can I do to stay healthy? 

  • Wash cat bites or scratches right away with soap and water.  
  • Cover any cuts with a bandage.  
  • Control fleas. Use veterinarian approved flea control with your pets and make sure to check your pets for fleas. Having regular check-ups with your veterinarian will help control fleas in your home and pets.  
  • Do not play rough with your cats.  
  • Do not let cats lick open cuts.  
  • Do not pet or touch wild cats.  


  • Infected: When germs get inside of a body, animal, or an organism.
  • Infection: When germs enter your body and begin to increase.
  • Inflammation: The body’s natural response against injury and infection.

Species Affected

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.