Dogs are descended from wolves, which explains why they sometimes go rogue. But cats — cats are descended from, um, cats. So it’s not like the cat’s ancestors ever hunted us for food or anything. In fact it’s a safe bet that sitting on keyboards, attacking feet, and sticking butts in our faces are pretty much the worst human-directed offenses they’ve ever really been able to dream up.
So when you hear about someone getting killed by a cat, you might be forgiven for thinking of felines flying through the air like that rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The real story is only slightly less terrifying.
We could call this guy “Unfortunate Man Who Appeared in the World Journal of Clinical Cases,” but that’s kind of awkward so let’s just call him “Unfortunate Man.” Sixty-eight-year-old Unfortunate Man was bitten by his pet cat, which is something pet cats do when they’re annoyed, like if you disapprove of them sticking their butts in your face. Six weeks later he died because of a common bacteria called Pasteurella, which caused an aortic aneurysm that ruptured and led to severe sepsis.
This type of cat-bite complication is more likely to occur in people who aren’t very healthy to begin with. (Unfortunate Man was a heavy drinker.) Still, there’s no way of knowing if cats will one day develop the ability to inject Pasteurella at will, like black mamba venom. Because if they could, you know they would.