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Man dies four years after being bit by pet cat

By Melanie Uson Published Dec 16, 2022 11:17 am

A man whose finger got bit by a cat four years ago has passed away due to a blood infection from flesh-eating bacteria. 

Cats, especially their kittens, are undeniably cute and hard to resist. But an unlucky encounter with them may lead to life-threatening situations. Take 33-year-old Henrik Kriegbaum Plettner as an example. 

According to a report by Daily Mail, one of the kittens he adopted in 2018 bit his index finger while he was moving them to a new home. He initially thought it wasn’t serious enough to seek medical attention. Hours after the incident, however, he had to call a doctor when his affected hand had swollen “twice its size.” He waited until the next day, as he was told—and eventually ended up at a hospital in Denmark for one whole month.

Even after undergoing 15 operations, the doctors had to amputate his then-fully functioning finger due to the bite infection that continued to damage his system. Aside from the virus, Plettner reportedly continued to struggle with other health problems such as gout, diabetes, pneumonia, and a weakened immune system. He succumbed to death in October 2022. 

Plettner got infected by bacteria known as Pasteurella multocida, which affected his bloodstream and stayed in his body for a long period of time. According to a journal published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), it's a "common cause of infection following bites or scratches caused by dogs and especially cats," but is "rarely reported and apparently often overlooked as a pathogen." The infection is "potentially dangerous and can cause a chronic local infection of deep tissues and osteomyelitis."

In an interview with Daily Mail, Plettner's wife said: “We knew that he was doing badly. However, we had no idea that he was so seriously ill."

“Go to the doctor after a bite. Don’t think, ‘Oh, that’s just a cat,’” she stressed.