Earlier this month, in Pittsburgh’s Spring Hill neighborhood, local authorities warned residents about a rabid cat that not only attacked a woman and two children but was still loose in the neighborhood. The warning also included the following information:
Please be aware of some of the clinical signs of Rabies Virus. Rabies has two major forms:
- Furious: symptoms may include abnormal aggression, loss of fear, daytime activity by nocturnal species, attraction to noise and human activity, difficulty swallowing, drooling, restlessness, biting at anything and everything (including inanimate objects).
- Dumb: symptoms may include: lack of fear, appearing ‘tame,’ drooling, decreased activity, incoordination (trouble walking, looking ‘drunk’ or hurt), paralysis, coma, or sudden death.
Not all rabid animals show all these symptoms. Symptoms of rabies are not always obvious. Rabies can appear in ANY mammal, but most commonly in PA we see rabies in skunks, raccoons, cats, foxes, bats and groundhogs.
ANY bite from an animal should be reported to your doctor.
Nicole McGrady, the woman attacked by the rabid cat, described the frightening situation to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4. She recalled how the rabid cat attacked her 3-year-old daughter and nephew, and then attacked her when she tried to intervene.
“I just kept shaking my leg… and it still wouldn’t let go. And I gave it a kick and it finally let go,” recalled McGrady.
When asked if she had ever seen a cat so aggressive she replied “Never. Never in my life.”
The sick cat was white with one green eye and one blue eye, which made it relatively easy for people to identify it. Within a few days, the unique cat was spotted, captured, tested (positive) and sadly – but necessarily – euthanized.
Bystanders who witnessed the attack noted that the white cat in question had been a neighborhood stray for years and had never shown any previous aggression until it attacked the family earlier this month.
In recalling the attack, neighbor Alyse Quigley said the cat was wet, shaking and wild-eyed: “His hair was sticking straight up, and you could tell in his eyes, he had a weird look in his eyes.”
McGrady and the children completed the first round of rabies treatments immediately, so most likely there will be no long-lasting problems for the trio. But the treatment was less than pleasant, according to McGrady.
“They had six needles… they had to shoot me all around the infection to stop it from spreading, and then in where the cat bit me. Then two in each arm and two in each leg,” recalled McGrady.
But since rabies is almost always fatal if the multi-shot treatment is not completed immediately after exposure, McGrady not only understood the needles and pain were worth it, but was grateful that there is a cure.
In Allegheny County (where the rabid cat was caught) there were 18 reported rabid animals in the last year; 10 bats, six raccoons, one skunk and one cat.
Next Page: Spring Hill residents recall the scary rabid cat attack, experts discuss rabies symptoms, and see a poor raccoon suffering from advanced rabies (this last video is hard to watch but very important for animal lovers who might be inclined to help such an animal and thus putting themselves and others in a very dangerous situation)