Attention cat-lovers and those who merely tolerate them: cat scratch fever is real and just like the CDC’s strident warnings about kissing chickens, they would also like you to watch it around Señor Fluffyface and his sharp little claws.
CBS News reports that while cat scratch fever isn’t new, the CDC recently released a report with some new stats about the disease’s prevalence. About 35 percent of all cats in the United States carry the bacteria Bartonella hensela which causes the disease and there are 12,000 cases diagnosed every year. Cat scratch fever isn’t horrifically life-threatenting, unless it’s like this, in which case, Jesus Christ, I’m sorry, be careful!!
Strangely enough, the CDC reports that cat scratch disease was highest among those who lived in the southern United States and among children 5–9 years of age. Symptoms include headaches, swollen lymph nodes and fever following a cat scratch of a bite, and while most cases are totally fine and don’t require hospitalization, out of the 12,00 infected, about 500 or so have been more serious.
To avoid this, the CDC recommends washing your hands after you touch your cat and also avoiding “aggressive” cuddling and play – basically don’t make Mrs. Jigglyfluff so pissed with your frantic ministrations that she comes for your face, your arm or your eye.
Solid advice all around.