Your dog got scratched by a cat? Well, there can be multiple reasons why that happened, and there is also plenty of outcome to this event.

When someone says “they fight like cats and dogs” that means they fight or argue frequently and in a very forceful and angry way. And sometimes, this idiom can be true.

Owning a cat and a dog can be chaotic at times. Or if your neighbor owns a curious cat, these things can still happen.

And no matter what precautionary measures we do, accidents can happen.

Keep in mind that even if your dog and cat are friends, they can still fight once in a while.

And your dog getting scratched by your cat is a common injury that can even happen to pooches with good intentions.

As pet parents, it's important to remain calm and to know what to do and the possible outcomes of cat scratch injuries.

Below, we'll discuss everything you need to know when this unfortunate circumstance occurs.

Can your dog get sick from a cat scratch? Can your dog get rabies from a cat scratch? Or can dogs get cat scratch fever?

But first, let's tackle why cats scratch dogs.

frightened cat defends and attacks dog

Dog Got Scratched By A Cat: Why Do Cats Scratch Dogs?

Generally, cats are independent creatures. Their independence could be linked to their wild ancestors which were solitary animals.

Cats try to avoid conflict. They'll try to find safety in high places or move to a different room.

And if you've noticed that your dog keeps on approaching the cat, you have to be alert because things can go sideways real quick.

Once you've heard hissing, something is going down. Cats will protect themselves through swats or scratches.

It doesn't matter if your dog was just being curious or if they are acting aggressively. If your cat's temper is at its boiling point, it will unleash its claws.

Chaos can also happen when the neighbor cat tries to enter your yard and Fido is a territorial dog.

Cat Scratch Wounds on Dogs

When a cat scratches a dog, the most common place for those little but fierce paws can land is their face. And when this happens, eye injuries are rather common.

Pet owners should not take eye injuries lightly, as they are serious problems.

Cat scratches can damage the eye's surface or the cornea, and this can lead to an ulcer on the eye.

Dog eye injuries can be severe, especially if not treated right away.

If you think that your dog is suffering from eye trauma, it's best to take him to the vet right away.

On the other hand, scratches on the body usually heal well without too much intervention. However, just like any other wound, it is prone to infections.

Treatment for Cat Scratch Wounds

If the cat scratch caused an eye injury, it's best to contact your vet or rush him to the vet immediately.

This way, the vet can look at the injury closely and will know the proper treatment for it.

Some vets may need to apply anesthetic drops to make things more comfortable for your pup while they look for problems.

But overall, treatment will vary on how bad the injury is. Some will require your dog to take painkillers, and some will advise antibiotic eyedrops.

Unfortunately, other serious dog eye problems will require surgery, and it will be costly.

If your dog suffers a deep skin wound, your vet will need to clip the fur in that area so they'll be able to clean the wound successfully.

If there are signs of infections, the vet will prescribe some antibiotics, but most cat scratch wounds won't need any medication.

Cat Playing With Dog

Cat Scratch Fever

Cat scratch wounds are not the only thing you should look out for.

If you're wondering whether dogs can get sick from getting scratched by a cat, the answer is yes.

Cat scratch fever is an infection caused by a bacteria called Bartonella henselae.

Bartonella henselae is often spread by parasites such as fleas, ticks, and lice.

Parasites like these suck the blood from the infected animal (can be neighboring cats) and then transmit it to the next animal that they bite or scratch.

However, it can also be found in the parasite's feces or composed of digested blood.

The parasite feces can be transmitted in a skin wound or an uninfected dog.

For instance, if your cat or your neighbor's cat is infected with fleas, then they scratched themselves and got flea dirt under their nails.

Next thing you know, they scratched and injured your dog.

Even though the risk of this happening is low, it's still best advised to keep an eye out for these things so you'll know what to do.

As pet owners, we must supervise and be cautious of our environment. Even if we're at home and especially if we have other pets inside our house.

If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, they are prone to be exposed to sand flies, ticks, fleas, and lice regularly.

That's why grooming is crucial to dogs. It can not only help them stay clean but can also help prevent these kinds of problems.

Symptoms of Cat Scratch Fever in Dogs

Below, we've listed a few of the possible signs that your dog is suffering from cat scratch fever.

However, some dogs may not exhibit these symptoms, while some show subtle signs of fever, lethargy, and enlarged lymph nodes.

Other symptoms of scratch fever in dogs are:

If ever your dog is experiencing these symptoms, it's best advised to consult with your vet right away.

Treatment of Cat Scratch Fever in Dogs

Treatment will vary on the symptoms your dog is exhibiting. For instance, it'll depend on whether your pup needs antibiotics or not.

But if your dog is showing clinical symptoms of cat scratch fever, then antibiotics are required together with supportive care.

Usually, vets will administer antibiotics for four to six weeks.

Unfortunately, if the dog's internal organs or blood have been extremely affected, hospitalization may be the right remedy.

Dog scratched by a stray cat

Can a Dog Get Rabies From a Cat Scratch?

Although it's highly rare for a dog to catch rabies from a cat scratch, it is still possible.

Rabies is a virus that is transmitted from the saliva of the infected animal, which in this case, a cat.

Typically, rabies transmission is through bite injuries. But if a cat infected by rabies has been licking and grooming its paws, the infected saliva can stay on its nails.

Hence, there is still a small risk that your pup can get rabies through a cat scratch.

But if your dog has his routine rabies shots, this greatly reduces the chances of acquiring this disease.

Keep in mind that it's important to have their vaccines up to date all the time.

What To Do if a Cat Scratched your Dog?

One of the most important things that you should do when your dog gets scratched or suffers from any kind of injury is to relax.

Remember that dogs know and feel when we are anxious and can cause even more stress to them when you're in a panic.

Stop the fight

Once you've heard fighting, the first thing you do is to try and stop the cat and dog fighting to avoid further problems.

And at the same time, make sure you don't put yourself at risk.

Try and distract both of them with loud noises or try spraying them with water. Cats often just strike and then back off.

That's why the only problem you'll have to deal with is to remove your dog from the area.

Check for injuries

After breaking up the fight, you should check your dog for injuries. As we've discussed above, the most common area to get scratched is the dog's face.

Scan for blood or wounds especially near their eyes or all over their faces.

If you've noticed that he is squinting or holding one eye shut, this could mean that he's suffering from an injury.

Contact your Veterinarian

If you suspect that your dog suffered an injury or a wound, it's best advised to consult with your vet immediately—especially if the cat that scratched your dog is a stray and you don't know if it is vaccinated or clean.

Eye injuries need prompt treatment or they can easily become more painful. Your vet will suggest different kinds of treatments depending on the severity of the injury.

Create ways to reduce cat and dog fighting in the future

If you own a dog and a cat, you should find ways to reduce the risk of fights in your household.

For instance, you can train your dog to stop harassing the cat and provide calming auras to reduce stress.

You can also make sure that your cat has a few ways to escape from the dog.

For instance, you can build or buy stair gates or mounted cat beds where they can run and hide.

Cat scratches dog

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cat scratches harm your dogs?

Yes, cat scratches can cause problems. The most common one is eye injuries.

When this happens, make sure to take Fido to the vet for further examination as eye problems are best solved in their early stages.

It can also lead to cat scratch fever or cat scratch disease (CDS). It is caused by a bacterial infection.

A few symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and more.

Can a cat scratch cause rabies in dogs?

Even though it's very rare to catch rabies through a cat scratch, it is still possible. If a cat has rabies licks or grooms its paws, the virus may stay on its nails.

And when those nails attack your pup, there's a possibility that he can acquire rabies. That's why it's crucial to keep your dog's vaccination up to date.

Can dogs get parasites from cats?

Yes, a big misconception for pet owners is that they think some specific strains of worms from cats can't be transmitted to dogs or the other way around.

It can even be transmitted to the cat's feces. The shell of worm eggs can survive a long length of time on the ground.

Dog Got Scratched By A Cat

Dog Got Scratched By A Cat: Summary

Has your dog got scratched by a cat? Well, no need to panic. A lot of times, scratches are harmless to dogs.

However, there are a few times that it can be dangerous, especially if your dog got scratched by a stray cat. We wouldn't know if the cat is clean or vaccinated.

When a cat scratches your dog, you should check for injuries, particularly in their eyes. Eye injuries should be resolved as early as possible since they can worsen over time.

Cat scratches can also lead to Bartonella henselae or Cat Scratch Fever.

It is a bacterial infection that is carried by fleas, ticks, lice, and sand flies. It can cause fever and inflammation in the organs of the body.

Although unlikely, cat scratches can also be infected by rabies. Keep your cat and dog's vaccines up to date to reduce the chances of this disease.

The moment you realize that your dog got scratched by a cat, it's always important to stay calm and check your pooch right away.

If you're extra cautious, you can consult with your vet and have your pooch checked immediately.


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.