kitten scratching someone's legs

“My cat scratched someone, can they take my cat from me?”

I’ve received this question from a concerned reader. 

Of course, we all wonder about it as cat scratches are a common occurrence in our lives.

So let’s not waste any time and dive into this issue to alleviate your concerns.

READ MORE: How to Stop Cats From Scratching Walls

Can They Take My Cat from Me For Scratching Someone?

cat scratching a man

I haven’t found any evidence of a cat being taken away for scratching someone. It’s not like dogs where a cat with scratching or biting issues is extremely dangerous. 

But people who get scratched can contact a personal injury attorney and sue for damages. However, it requires showing that the cat’s owner previously knew it was dangerous. 

In some states, such as California, it’ll fall under one free bite [1] (or scratch) rule. The affected person will need to prove your cat has a history of dangerous behavior. 

Typical examples would be biting/scratching someone else or another pet previously. So they’ll likely check with your neighbors about the cat’s behavior.

If they prove prior dangerous behavior, you’ll probably be liable to pay for damages. But it’s challenging for an affected person to get the evidence needed. 

I’d recommend talking it out with a lawyer if someone does try to sue. The laws are different in every state, so it’s essential to have the correct information for your area.

How to Stop Cats From Biting and Scratching

Of course, there are training techniques to stop biting or scratching. But it’s a complex process to train a cat with scratching or biting habits in its personality. 

It’s not an impossible task, though; it’ll just take patience and time. You need to teach them that you and other people prefer not to get scratched or bit.

1. Trim Your Cat’s Claws

lady trimming cat's claw

Claw trimming is a necessity for any cat owner. It’s a vital part of keeping your cat healthy, as ingrown nails are a real issue. 

It’ll also keep their scratching damage to a minimum. So it won’t be as painful if they scratch you or someone else. 

But don’t take this statement as me advertising for declawing your cat. Declawing “has not been proven an effective method” [2] for preventing aggression and shouldn’t ever be done to cats. 

2. Voice Your Displeasure

Saying “No!” or another single-word phrase can help correct your cat’s behavior. It’s a way of showing them what behaviors aren’t acceptable, but it must be consistent. 

I’d also advise not screaming it but instead saying it loudly and clearly. You might notice it starling your cat, which will break its focus. 

Once you have their attention, slowly remove your hand from their paws. It’s vital to refrain from yanking it away as your cat will think it’s playtime and grab it again. 

3. Redirect Their Playfulness

Cats are known to “attack people’s hands and feet in play if allowed by their owners.” [3] In most cases, it’s their way of striving off boredom and looking for some entertainment. 

cat playing with his interactive toys

You can stop this behavior by providing them with a different outlet. Honestly, a single 15-minute play session with an interactive toy can do wonders. 

Directing them toward a scratching post will work, as well. Both methods will correct those unwanted behaviors and provide them with an acceptable outlet for their energy. 

If you need helping in choosing a scratching post, check out our article “HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CAT SCRATCHING POST EVER.”

4. Pay Attention to Your Cat’s Behavior

Owners must be aware of changes in their cat’s physical condition or behavior. Therefore, examine your cat routinely, checking its body from head to toe. 

From there, keep an eye out for any warning signs of upcoming aggressiveness. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve managed to avoid a scratch by being aware of symptoms. 

What Do I Do If My Cat Bites Me or Scratches Me Badly?

No pet parent wants to experience a bad cat bite or scratch. But, sadly, it’s part of the experience. You’ll make your cat very angry at some point.

Dealing with the situation is an involved process. But these following steps will get you through it and back to building a trusting relationship with your favorite family pet.

Step 1: Isolating the Cat

my cat scratched someone so his hiding under the bed

After the incident, don’t approach or attempt to touch your cat. You want to provide them with space, especially if they remain highly aroused following the attack (aggressive vocalization or strange body language).

Separate the cat from everyone and not them allowing them to contact with animals that it could also attack. Your cat’s likely frightened itself, so keep it calm to reduce future incidents. 

Shut yourself and others out of the room or let the cat escape into another room and close the door. But make sure there’s a direct path, and you aren’t in the way. 

I’d also refrain from shouting or doing any “dominating” behavior toward the cat. These actions will only increase their aggressiveness further and cause more issues.

Step 2: Treat Your Wounds

Deal with any wounds by flushing with running, clean water, and seeking medical advice immediately [4]. It’ll help prevent issues like cat scratch disease/cat scratch fever or any risk of infection.

Contacting the family doctor couldn’t hurt, either. I’d also suggest contacting a vet to discuss your cat’s aggressive behavior. 

They’ll offer insights into what could have triggered the behavior. But if you have difficulty recalling the event, don’t be alarmed. It’s common to be a little shocked by it. 

Step 3: Wait and Protect Yourself When Approaching Your Cat

Your final step is waiting until your cat calms down. Depending on the situation, it could take a few hours. So it’s crucial to remain cautious.

If you need to approach the cat, protect vulnerable parts of your body. Putting on heavy boots and gloves can be helpful to stop any attacks on your arms or legs. 

Some people find it helpful to protect their eyes from an eye scratch by wearing goggles or glasses. In any case, the traumatic event should be over for both of you in a couple of hours.

 FAQs 

Can a cat be put down for scratching someone?

A cat won’t be put down for scratching someone unless it’s a stray. Stray cats could be euthanized immediately by an animal health professional to prevent diseases [5]. Still, a domestic cat will be fine as long as it isn’t an infected animal with rabies or other serious bacterial infections.

Why do cats bite owners?

Looking for the best ways to train a kitten not to bite? We’ve got you covered! Read on for 8 simple yet proven strategies!

Cats will bite owners to communicate they don’t like what their owners are doing. It’s them saying that they’re done with the interaction. 

Conclusion

In the end, no one will take away your cat because it scratched someone. But it’s essential to approach the situation correctly and prepare for any legal proceedings. 

If you still have a question or two, please post in our comment section. I’d love to help you and your cat in any way possible. Thanks for reading.

Resources 

1. Are Cat Owners Legally Responsible if Their Cat Bites You? [Internet]. Penney & Associates – Personal Injury Lawyers. 2020 [cited 2022 Jan 3]. Available from: https://www.penneylawyers.com/serious-injuries/are-cat-owners-legally-responsible-if-cat-bites-you/

2. Position Statement on Declawing Cats [Internet]. ASPCA. 2015. Available from: https://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-declawing-cats

3. Aggression in Cats [Internet]. ASPCA. 2015. Available from: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/aggression-cats

4. How to Treat Cat Scratches at Home [Internet]. www.petmd.com. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/how-treat-cat-scratches-home

5. CDC – Veterinarians: What to do with an animal that has bitten a person – Rabies [Internet]. www.cdc.gov. 2019 [cited 2022 Jan 3]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/specific_groups/veterinarians/person_bitten.html#:~:text=Any%20stray%20or%20unwanted%20dog

cat scratching the lady's feet

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Ben Robers
Ben Robers

My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed. Learn more about Benhere
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