Cat scratch disease is an infection following the scratch of a cat (usually a kitten) with the organism Bartonella henselae, formerly known as Rochalimaea henselae. Dog and monkey bites have also been implicated, as well as pins, thorns and splinters. Ticks, bites and human-to-human transmission have been suspected as potential sources but none has been proved.
Many cases of cat scratch disease are not reported because the symptoms are often mild and the disease is self-limiting. Studies support that the disease is quite common, with a majority of cases occurring in people under 21 years of age. The studies found that many people have antibodies to Bartonella henselae, the virus that causes this disease. Having antibodies to a disease is called being seropositive and suggests a previous infection.
Cats like to scratch. They scratch during play. They scratch while stretching. They scratch to mark territory or as a threatening signal other cats. And because cats’ claws need regular sharpening, cats scratch on things to remove frayed, worn outer claws and expose new, sharper claws. Unfortunately, all this scratching can cause a lot of damage to furniture, drapes and carpeting!
The best tactic when dealing with scratching is not to try to stop your cat from scratching, but instead to teach her where and what to scratch. An excellent approach is to provide her with appropriate, cat-attractive surfaces and objects to scratch, such as scratching posts.
Watch your cat for both the places and the times of day he scratches. Maybe it’s become a good-morning ritual to scratch your mattress, or a “howdy” on the wooden stairs when you come home. These locations and timing help you match the ideal legal target to Kitty’s preferences.
When scratching is done indoors on walls, furniture or carpeted areas it can result in considerable damage, owner frustration and sometimes the loss of the home for the cat. It is easier to prevent problem scratching rather than trying to change your cat’s preference for the arm of your sofa after it has become an established habit. Thus, the goal is to establish acceptable scratching habits by getting your cat to prefer a scratching post rather than the arm of your sofa.