Australian woman dies after cat scratches her then licks wound

A medical expert has issued a warning in Australia after an elderly woman died from her cat licking an open wound.

A tabby cat. Source:

The 80-year-old woman died in May at Melbourne's Box Hill Hospital from bacterial meningitis.

According to a report in the Herald Sun, the woman was scratched by her pet cat Minty, which then licked the wound.

The family of the woman found her in bed unconscious and she was rushed to hospital in a coma.

She died just over a week later.

Lindsay Grayson, director of infectious diseases at Melbourne's Austin Health, warned about the danger of being infected with deadly bacteria from pets licking open wounds.

"It is a big deal and it is emerging more and more now as an unrecognised cause of heart valve infection, which is obviously fatal if untreated," Ms Grayson told the Herald Sun

"Infections related to cat bites and scratches like this person, we'd get at least one a week where somebody comes into the hospital. It is very important that if a cat is biting or scratching you, you mention it to your GP."