Visitor Question

Cat Attack Leaves Scars and Emotional Trauma…

Submitted By: Nataya (Los Angeles, CA, US)

I live in an apartment building where a lot of people own cats/dogs. Before we all moved in, a roommate was told to not bring the cat she had (new leases could not have cats, paper has been signed and we didn’t want pets in our place). She brought the cat anyways. So all of us living in this apartment have been dealing with it.

One time, one of my roommates said the cat was trying to attack her, she ran into the room and closed the door and his front legs were under the door moving. She told the owner (a roommate) then the cat was put up until she moved out. Now the cat has been running around unsupervised. I was not afraid, so I kept doing as usual.

One night, I had opened the door to the living room where the cat has been running around freely and he hid (as if I couldn’t see him) and was in a stance as if he was waiting on me to move so he could attack me. So I yelled at the cat and walked by and he jumped at my foot. As I was leaving the room, out of no where he attacked me. Bit into my leg and left me with a lot of bleeding scratches.

I told the owner, who revealed that he had scratched her and thought his behavior had calmed down. The next night I was advised to go to the hospital to get it checked out. I told the owner I will be giving her an estimate of the costs so I could be reimbursed.

So now, I’m wondering if compensation for the cat attack is possible? These are scars I have to wear for years, now I have fear of animals moving too fast, and I have to be on a schedule to take my medicine for the days the doctor prescribed. Any thoughts?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Nataya,

From the facts you present, the cat owner is liable for your injuries. It’s as simple as that.

From the facts you present it’s clear your roommate was forewarned not to bring the cat into the apartment, “…roommate was told to not bring the cat, ” and you made it clear “we didn’t want pets in our place.” Additionally there is no evidence of provocation. If there had been, your roommate could use it as an affirmative defense.

Your roommate also had previous notice of the aggressive nature of her cat. This occurred when your other roommate was placed in fear of attack by the cat.

It would be entirely unreasonable for you to have moved out. You had no choice but to stay.

It seems fair to presume if the cat owner had to have roommates, she probably doesn’t have a lot of discretionary income. Nevertheless, she is still liable for your “damages.” Damages include your medical bills, costs of your medications, lost wages (if you had to miss work), and your pain and suffering, also called emotional distress and mental anguish.

Tell your roommate you want to be reimbursed for your damages. If she refuses to pay you can sue her in your local small claims court. In the State of California the maximum amount, or “jurisdiction” of Small Claims Court is $10,000 dollars.

Before you consider filing a lawsuit be sure you won’t have any permanent scarring. If you will have scarring your case may be worth more than $10,000 dollars. If so you will probably have to retain a personal injury attorney to file your suit in a higher court.

Learn more here: Compensation for Emotional Distress

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


One comment on “Cat Attack Leaves Scars and Emotional Trauma…

  1. Kristine says:

    My roommate brought home an 8 year old male cat on 10/29/2020 and on 10/30/2020, she brought him out of her room to introduce me to the cat.

    He appeared to be very friendly and there were no issues until at 10:30 a.m.

    I was leaving to go run errands and the cat suddenly and without reason bit into my right leg, leaving two puncture wounds that were bleeding.

    I went to the doctor and he cleaned out the two wounds and gave me a tetanus shot, and antibiotics due to the fact cat bites can become infected.

    Do I have grounds to sue my roommate to recover the cost of my medical bills?

Leave a Comment

Don’t ask a personal injury question here – comments are not reviewed by an attorney. Ask your question on this page. Required fields are marked *