Pam was at her friend’s baby shower with her darling five-month-old daughter Antonella in tow. Towards the end of the festivities, Antonella fell asleep, so Pam tucked her in her car seat and waited for her husband to pick them up. When he called to say that he was on his way, Pam stepped into the other room to retrieve her belongings.
That’s when disaster struck.
“In those few seconds that I was getting the diaper bag and my phone, my friend's cat came out of nowhere, jumped into the car seat, and started attacking my precious baby,” the mom shares in an emotional Facebook post.
Pam and her husband rushed Antonella to the hospital. The dramatic photos she shared show her baby just seconds before the attack, and after, once Antonella had been examined and her wounds cleaned by the hospital staff. Pam and her husband were in shock that something like this could happen. But according to Pam, the nurse and doctors she spoke told her they see these types of incidents far too often.
“We were in the hospital till past midnight and the nurse and doctor that took care of my baby said: ANIMALS ARE ANIMALS AND THEY HAVE ANIMAL INSTINCTS! They told me they see these cases often, especially dog bites and attacks and they always hear parents saying, 'but I had this dog since before my baby was here and he's always been nice to my baby' and [yet] all of a sudden they attack! Doctors told me they see this on a daily basis…”
While bites from dogs are more frequent, an estimated 700,000 people per year are bitten by cats. Up to half of all cat bites become infected.
The information Pam received that night? It checks out. According to the Centers for Disease Control, dog and animal bite injuries are one of the most common reasons children visit the emergency room each year. Children are three times more likely than adults to suffer an animal-inflicted injury, and more than 70 percent of all bite injuries come from a family or neighborhood pet. What’s more, children’s bite injuries are much more likely to be serious, and up to 8 out of 10 animal bites to young children are facial. While bites from dogs are more frequent, an estimated 700,000 people per year are bitten by cats. Up to half of all cat bites become infected.
Yes, these statistics are frightening. But remember, research also shows that pets—both dogs and cats—can keep babies healthy! As multiple studies have found, children who grow up around a pet cat or dog from birth are less likely to develop allergies to these animals later in life. The takeaway? As with all things, there are positives, negatives, and a whole lot of room to be cautious when small children and pets are around each other, especially if the cat or dog is new to the child, and vice versa.
In Pam’s case, she wants to use her daughter’s terrifying ordeal to serve as a warning. “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE MOMMAS, BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR KIDS AROUND ANIMALS! I wouldn't like any other mother to go through what I am going through,” she urges.
How is sweet Antonella doing? The incident is still very recent, but Pam reports that Antonella is recovering well and won’t require plastic surgery—a huge relief. Pam would appreciate your good thoughts, and most of all, she wants you to remember her story.
As Pam tells Mom.me, “It doesn't make me happy to have my little princess seen like this, but I put our stories and photos on Facebook to help other parents be more aware of animals around kids, and what can happen when you least expect it.”