What Happens if a Raccoon Bites a Cat? – Will It Die

what happens if a raccoon bites a cat

What happens if a raccoon bites a cat? It’s a concerning scenario, given the potential risks involved. These encounters between two different species can lead to various outcomes, influenced by factors such as the severity of the bite and the response of the cat.

What happens if a raccoon bites a cat?

If a cat is bitten by a raccoon, several potential consequences can occur.

  • Injury: A raccoon bite can cause various injuries to a cat, including puncture wounds, scratches, and tissue damage. Raccoons have sharp teeth and claws, so their bites can be quite damaging, leading to immediate pain and potential long-term complications.
  • Infection: Raccoon bites introduce bacteria into the cat’s wound, increasing the risk of infection. Common bacteria found in raccoon saliva, such as Pasteurella multocida, can lead to serious infections if not treated promptly. Infection can cause inflammation, swelling, and further tissue damage.
  • Tissue damage: The force of a raccoon’s bite can result in significant tissue damage around the site of the bite. This damage may include tearing of skin, muscle, and underlying tissue, leading to pain, bleeding, and impaired healing. Severe tissue damage may require surgical intervention to repair.
  • Stress and trauma: Being attacked or bitten by a raccoon can be a traumatic experience for a cat, leading to stress, anxiety, and behavioral changes. Cats may become fearful or aggressive following such an encounter, affecting their overall well-being and potentially causing long-term psychological effects.
  • Disease transmission: Raccoons can carry various diseases, including rabies, leptospirosis, and roundworm infection. If the raccoon is infected with any of these diseases, there is a risk of transmission to the cat through the bite. These diseases can have serious consequences for the cat’s health and may require immediate medical attention, including vaccination and quarantine.

What does a raccoon bite look like on a cat?

A raccoon bite on a cat can vary in appearance depending on the severity of the bite. Here’s what to look for:

  • Puncture wounds: These are the most common sign of a raccoon bite and will appear as small, deep holes in the cat’s skin. They may be single or multiple, often clustered around the bitten area.
  • Redness and swelling: The area around the bite will likely be red and swollen, indicating inflammation and potential infection.
  • Bleeding: Depending on the severity, the bite may bleed, ranging from minor spotting to more significant blood flow.
  • Bruising: Bruising may appear around the bite site due to tissue damage beneath the skin.
  • Pain and discomfort: Your cat may show signs of pain or discomfort, such as flinching when touching the area, limping if bitten on a leg, or avoiding using the bitten body part.
  • Discharge: In some cases, the bite may ooze pus or other fluids, indicating infection.
  • Fever: A fever can be a sign of a serious infection and requires immediate veterinary attention.

What to do if your cat gets bit by a raccoon?

If your cat gets bitten by a raccoon, the steps you should take depend on whether your cat is vaccinated or not:

If the cat is vaccinated:

  • Even if your cat is vaccinated, it’s important to take the bite seriously and assess the wound.
  • Immediately clean the wound with mild soap and water to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Monitor the wound closely for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • Contact your veterinarian for further advice. They may recommend bringing the cat in for an examination to assess the severity of the bite and determine if additional treatment, such as antibiotics, is necessary.
  • Ensure that your cat’s rabies vaccination is up to date. Even though your cat is vaccinated, a rabies booster shot may be recommended depending on local regulations and the circumstances of the bite.

If the cat is not vaccinated:

  • If your cat is not vaccinated against rabies, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Clean the wound with mild soap and water as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Contact your veterinarian or local animal control authorities for guidance on what steps to take next. They may recommend bringing the cat in for evaluation and treatment.
  • Your cat will likely need to receive a rabies vaccination if it hasn’t been vaccinated previously. Depending on local regulations and the severity of the bite, the cat may also need to undergo quarantine to monitor for signs of rabies.
  • Follow any additional instructions provided by your veterinarian or animal control authorities to ensure the health and safety of your cat and to comply with local laws and regulations regarding rabies exposure.

In either case, it’s important to closely monitor your cat for any signs of illness or changes in behavior following the bite. If you have any concerns or if the wound does not appear to be healing properly, contact your veterinarian for further advice and treatment.

Will your cat get rabies if bitten by a raccoon?

For a vaccinated cat, the chances of getting rabies from a raccoon bite are significantly lower. It is still important to consult your vet as they may advice vaccination booster shots.

But if an unvaccinated cat is bitten by a rabid raccoon, there is a risk that the cat could contract rabies. However, it’s important to note that not all raccoons carry rabies; in fact, only a small percentage, typically 1-5%, of raccoons are infected with the virus. This means that the likelihood of your cat getting rabies from a raccoon bite is rare.

Despite the rarity of raccoons carrying rabies, it’s impossible to determine if the raccoon that bit your cat was infected with the virus. Therefore, seeking immediate medical attention for your cat is necessary regardless of the perceived risk. Waiting for symptoms to appear is not advisable, as rabies is a serious and potentially fatal disease.

In summary, while the chances of your cat contracting rabies from a raccoon bite are low, it’s crucial to act swiftly and seek veterinary care as soon as possible to ensure the health and safety of your pet.

Can a raccoon bite kill a cat?

Yes, a raccoon bite has the potential to kill a cat, although it’s relatively rare. The severity of the injury depends on various factors such as the size and health of the cat, the location and depth of the bite, and whether the raccoon is carrying any diseases. 

Raccoons have sharp teeth and claws, and their bites can cause significant tissue damage, infection, and potentially lead to fatal complications if left untreated. In some cases, raccoons may carry diseases such as rabies, which can be transmitted through a bite and, if untreated, can result in death.

Factors influencing severity:

  • Cat’s size and health: Younger or weaker cats are more vulnerable.
  • The severity of the bite: Deeper, multiple bites pose a higher risk.
  • Promptness of treatment: Early intervention significantly improves the cat’s chances.

Raccoon bite force on cat

The bite force of a raccoon varies depending on factors such as age, size, and health of the individual animal. Generally, adult raccoons have a bite force that ranges from around 35 to 50 pounds per square inch (PSI). This bite force is strong enough to enable raccoons to crush bones and inflict serious injuries.

While raccoons are not among the animals with the strongest bite force compared to predators like lions or hyenas, their bite is still potent enough to cause significant harm to smaller animals like cats and dogs, as well as to humans if they feel threatened or cornered.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Raccoon Bites on Cats

Q1: How can I tell if a bite mark on my cat is from a raccoon?

A: Identifying the specific animal responsible for a bite on your cat based solely on the marks is tricky. Common features of any animal bite include small, deep puncture wounds, redness/swelling around the area, pain, bleeding, or bruising. However, these don’t guarantee it’s a raccoon. The best course of action is to seek veterinary attention immediately regardless of the suspected culprit. Your vet can assess the wound, rule out potential dangers like rabies, and provide proper treatment for your cat.

Q2: What should I do if my cat is bitten by a raccoon?

A: If your cat is bitten by a raccoon, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. Even if the cat is vaccinated, raccoon bites can lead to infections or transmit diseases. Clean the wound with mild soap and water, and monitor your cat closely for any signs of illness or discomfort.

Q3: Are there any specific signs I should look for to determine if my cat’s bite wound is from a raccoon?

A: Signs indicating a raccoon bite on your cat may include the presence of fur or saliva from the raccoon around the wound, as well as the depth and spacing of the puncture wounds. However, since identifying bite marks can be challenging, it’s best to consult a veterinarian for proper assessment and treatment.

Q4: What diseases can a raccoon transmit through a bite to a cat?

A: Raccoons can carry various diseases, including rabies, leptospirosis, and roundworm infection, which can be transmitted through their saliva. If a raccoon is infected with any of these diseases, there is a risk of transmission to a cat through a bite. Vaccination and proper veterinary care are essential to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

Q5: How can I prevent my cat from being bitten by a raccoon?

A: To reduce the likelihood of your cat being bitten by a raccoon, it’s essential to minimize encounters between them. Keep your cat indoors, especially during nighttime when raccoons are more active. Secure garbage bins and other potential food sources to deter raccoons from entering your property. Additionally, consider installing motion-activated lights or sprinklers to discourage raccoons from approaching your home.



Understanding the potential risks of raccoon bites to cats is crucial for pet owners. While such encounters can lead to serious consequences, prompt action and preventive measures can mitigate these risks. By seeking immediate veterinary care, monitoring for signs of infection, and implementing strategies to deter raccoons, pet owners can safeguard their cats’ well-being.

Additionally, promoting coexistence with wildlife through responsible pet management and habitat preservation is essential for reducing conflicts. Ultimately, by remaining vigilant and taking proactive measures, pet owners can help ensure the safety and health of their feline companions in areas where raccoons are present.


About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind racoonpet.com. My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.