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Rabid Cat Attacks Woman and Children

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Rabid Cat Attacks Woman and Children

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)

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.


+ add your own
3:09AM PST on Nov 12, 2014

When an animal gets rabies nomally it is then too late to help and the kindest thing to do is putting them to sleep. I hope the family will be ok after this attack

8:48PM PDT on Sep 4, 2014

It sounds lame, but my vet say "there is no maybes when it comes to rabies".
All my cats have their shot, and they don't go outside. It's just in case. Should be law.
This is why it's so important to T-N-R ferals. When we do it they get their shots, too.

I had a run-in with a rabid raccoon and it was the scariest thing ever. I just finished running in a local park. It was near the entrance just standing there, in broad daylight, so I knew something was very wrong. It chased me onto my car and then proceeded to attack my car - it left teeth marks in those rubber bumper things. It kept me trapped for over 5 minutes until it got tired and limped away. I called 911 to have them trap it.

The standard test for rabies is Direct Fluorescent Antibody test (dFA test). Because rabies is present in nervous tissue (not blood like many other viruses), it is best to test for rabies in brain tissue. This test can ONLY be done post-mortem. The suspected animal is always euthanized. When my husband, a vet tech, worked at a zoo, if any local wildlife came onto the property - skunks, raccoons, foxes, they always killed and tested it. Even possums who are rabies resistant. Not very nice.

And, once it progresses along nerve tissue, rabies is always fatal.

5:54AM PDT on Aug 23, 2014

Poor kitty!!

11:23AM PDT on Jun 30, 2014

We know to stay away from wild raccoons and skunks - both me and the dogs, because they can be carriers for the disease even when not showing symptoms. Better safe, than sorry. I hate all the videos showing people playing with wild animals. Poor kitty probably got bitten by one of them and became ill. So sad.

4:44AM PDT on Jun 21, 2014


12:58AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Sad disease. Hope the family is okay

8:55AM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

This is something I worry about in my neighborhood. Quite a few of my neighbors have outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats, and we have a large raccoon population in the area, and they have a pretty high rate of rabies. Good thing our city requires rabies vaccinations for cats... but I still worry.

Jake the kitty stays very much indoors. His contact with the Great Outdoors comes through looking out the windows and sniffing our shoes to learn about what we may have stepped in.

4:25AM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

:( It's sad that the cat had to be PTS, but it seemed like the best choice for this situation so that it wouldn't hurt anymore people.

7:37PM PDT on Jun 9, 2014

keep your cat indoors or within a secure fence as in the law in australia

12:13PM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

Yes, I remember my friend's cat in Mt. Washington suddenly turned on her. She was so afraid, she locked herself in the basement until help came.

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