But, the reality is a bit different at least in Kerala, if the information provided by the state Health Department in a recent RTI reply can be believed.
According to the state Health Directorate, the number of people suffering from ''cat bites'' and seeking treatment in the state is much higher than those doing so for dog attacks in the last several years.
In January alone this year, at least 28,186 people had suffered cat bites while the number of those attacked by the canines stood at 20,875, as per the figures of the Directorate.
The data was released as per the RTI query submitted by the Animal Legal Force, a state-based animal outfit.
The statistics of people who suffered bites by dogs and cats between 2013 and 2021 and the amount spent for anti- rabies vaccine and serum were attached with the reply, which was shared to the media by the Force.
The number of people who had suffered kitten bites began to show an upward trend since 2016, the year in which 1,60,534 people had sought treatment for the cat bite against 1,35,217 people for the attack of dogs, as per the statistics.
If cats bite as many as 1,60,785 people in 2017, the number rose to 1,75,368 persons in 2018 and increased to 2,04,625 and 2,16,551 in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Compared to the figures of 2014 and 2020, there has been an 128 per cent increase in the number of people who suffered cat bites in the southern state.
However, the number of those who suffered dog bite and sought treatment was 1,35,749 in 2017, 1,48,365 in 2018, 1,61,050 in 2019 and 1,60,483 in 2020, as per the government figures.
At least five people had succumbed to rabies infection in the southern state last year and one of the major causes of death was the attitude of people taking the animal bite in a light manner, said Angels Nair, general secretary,Animal Legal Force.
Though cats normally don''t attack human beings compared to dogs, its unintentional tooth or nail scratch was the reason forcing people to take anti-rabies vaccine or seek medical aid.
Such cat scratches would also be recorded as ''cat bite'' in the medical data and that may be the reason for showing a spurt in ''cat bite'' cases in the state, the outfit said, adding that it is essential to take vaccine even if people suffer a minor scratch from the animals.