16 answers

Son Bitten by Neighbors cat.....Rabies Not up to Date!!!

Yikes, I had no idea how horribly complicated it is to deal with your child being bit by someone else's animal. Has anyone been through this before? I briefly went next door talk to the lady (who we don't know-- they are the neighbors behind our house) , who barely opened the door and was pretty evasive about whether her cat was up to date with the vaccinations. She said the cat hasn't been to the vet in over a couple of years, in my nervous state I just assumed that means she had a rabies shot, not even thinking that its possible she didn't. So I went back over, she didn't answer the door so I left a note with my number and email requesting to know if she had rabies shots.

Meantime I took my son to the pediatrician to have him look at and suggestions on what to do? They prescribed him an antibiotic just in case it gets infected and then said I need to get proof of rabies vaccination. If they can't provide proof the cat needs to be quarantined to verify they don't have rabies, but that for a domestic cat its pretty rare that they have rabies!

Get home find out the neighbor called and told my hubby the cat was not up to date on it's rabies (last shot was 4 yrs ago) and they are calling animal control to quarantine (and will get back to us)....But I'm so unsure how this works? Rabies can't be tested unless the animal is deceased right? I've read it can be an inactive virus for a year before any symptoms? So how can a quarantine for 10 days guarantee my kid isn't going to get sick? I'm a nervous wreck, there was just a reported case of an 8 yr old who survived rabies only the 3rd case in US to survive w/o the vaccine, all else are pretty much a death sentence? Any advice or thoughts....

PS For all you outdoor cat owners just a friendly reminder please keep your cats/dogs up to date with their rabies shots!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wowzer Pamela *** My son is fully aware of the risks involved in playing with any animal, and has been taught at a very early age how to pet and touch animals gently. I was watching him very carefully and he did not corner, rush or attack this cat in any way! I'm very shocked that you even have the nerve to say my son was the one at fault for provoking the animal without even knowing the full details. My son was gently petting the cat without harm when he briskly touched her hind quarters--obviously a touchy spot for the cat--but that by no means, in my book, indicates he did something wrong, intentionally or otherwise. Also would like to add, this cat is obviously not the *average* cat, as the owner repeatedly stated throughout our conversations today, that this cat bites without provocation (but has justified it as that's 'the way she plays') so obviously my son isn't the only one who's had issues with this cat! I like how you were so quick to shift the blame on my son, when the reality is this incident wouldn't have even been an issue if the vaccines were up to date--especially knowing the cat bites--playfully or otherwiset!

Thanks Moms for all the reassurance--the cat appears otherwise healthy & has bitten other adult neighbors and they've had no issues apparently! So I'm feeling way better now--confirmation she doesn't have rabies would be even better, but there's a long list of protocol we have to follow and I couldn't get a hold of animal control in time today to get things rolling! I'm just praying there's no infection and he heals quickly. I've dealt with scratches, minor bites, but the puncture wounds with this bite is beyond anything I've dealt with--she sure got 'em good!

Featured Answers

My cat hasnt had a shot in 6 years. She's bitten my hubby twice. No rabies so far. The wound from a cat bite will get sore tho before it gets better.

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Rabies is not a dormant virus - not in animals anyways. They will show signs and symptoms within 10 days of being infected.

Chances of a domestic animal with rabies is VERY rare...

I'd also explain to your child that hurting, chasing and forcing yourself on an animal - stranger or known animal - is always a chance of getting hurt. And yes, your son had to have done something to that cat - because the average cat will NOT go up to anyone strange and just bite them.

***@ Mom of one and after 8 Flowers***

No, not shame on me... the boy obviously wasn't just minding his business. Cats do NOT just go after a stranger in another yard and bite them. Even a rabid animal needs some sort of reason to attack. The boy probably cornered or chased it down and unless Mommy tells him to leave animals alone and to not harm them - he will get bit a lot more before learning his lesson.

8 moms found this helpful

It is so so rare for a domesticated animal to have rabies. The animal would show signs within a few days if it had rabies. Your child is much more likely to get rabies from a raccoon or squirrel than a cat.
*In 1992, Michel Aubert, a French research scientist concluded that a dog or cat with at least one rabies vaccination has a less than 1 in 8 million chance of contracting the rabies virus if exposed.

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Relax! 99.9% of the time vaccinations last WAY past the rec'd booster time frame.

4 moms found this helpful

My cat hasnt had a shot in 6 years. She's bitten my hubby twice. No rabies so far. The wound from a cat bite will get sore tho before it gets better.

4 moms found this helpful

some cats are just biters. we have five cats. one of them is a biter. she will bite you if you pet her too long or to briskly. i always warn people who go to pet her that she is a biter. i taught my son at a very early age that some cats are biters and need to be approached with caution, just like a dog! she usually doesnt bite hard enough to break the skin..usually. i've been bitten by both cats and dogs. keep neosporin on it, but make sure it does get aired out so if it gets scabby the scabs dont get soft and oozy. try not to worry about rabies, it really is rare. now if it was a bat that had bitten him, then you should worry!!

2 moms found this helpful

Ignore the very rude mother that suggested your son did something to get bit. Shame on your neighbor for not having her animals up to date on their shots.

I hope your son will be ok. Most likely he will, but I would freak out too if my child was bit by someone else's pet. Good luck to you.

2 moms found this helpful

It's extremely unlikely that the cat has rabies, unless it's a ferocious hunter and the animals it's hunting have rabies... it's a very small chance that the cat has any diseases that will harm your son. (Although hopefully after its quarantine, the owner will take it straight to the vet for its shots!) If the cat does have rabies, it will show signs during the 10 day quarantine, at which point it will be put down and subsequently tested. If the cat shows no signs of rabies in the 10 days, then you have nothing to worry about.

Make sure your son takes all the antibiotics though. My grandmother (a life-long cat lover) broke up two cats on her lawn who were fighting and one of them (her own cat, who was fully vaccinated) bit her. She didn't seek treatment right away, and her hand became so infected! She ended up having to have IV antibiotics and was really sick. She made a full recovery but after that we make sure to wash the kids' hands thoroughly if our cat scratches them while they're playing, or anything like that. Just the bacteria in a cat's mouth alone can cause problems if you don't treat with antibiotics right away.

Best of luck - please keep us updated as to what happens!

2 moms found this helpful

More than likely your DS will be just fine. You are doing everything a smart mama should do. Shame on the person who decided to give a lecture. You don't know what happened and this mama just wants some reassurance. My cat is very friendly but also loves to bite in a playful way. We always have to forwarn people of it when she's rubbing on them. And yes, she is current on her vaccinations.

2 moms found this helpful

While Rabies is still active throughout the country the possibility that a household pet has it is rare. It can only be transmitted through a bite and the cat has to have been bitten fairly recently. Most bites that are positive for Rabies are from wildlife. The Animal Services department of your city will be contacted because you took your child to the Doctor and by law they are required to report the bite to a Rabies Authority Official. The cat will be placed in quarantine under the direction of the animal control or owner's veterinarian or the owner will be fined. If the cat shows evidence of Rabies during the quarantine, the animal control officer will decide if the animal should be humanely euthanized and then tested. I truly believe that the worst you need to worry about is infection because the mouth is a dirty place. Keep the wound clean and give the antibiotics and let the Rabies Authorities handle the rest.

2 moms found this helpful

They might be able to pull titers on the cat to see if it still has immunity from earlier rabies' vaccinations (sometimes they last longer than they're supposed to, sometimes less). I'm not sure that they can do this though, or that it will necessarily help your situation (though it might put your mind a bit more at ease).

I would follow the precautions of the physician and try to stay calm. Chances are it will be fine but it's good to be careful and watchful.

2 moms found this helpful

The virus can not be inactive at all. The reason they do a 10 day quarantine is because major symptoms would come on during that time. That's my understanding of it. This is one of the many reasons my cats don't spend any time outdoors EVER. But you just reminded me that I need to get the rabies up to date on one of my dog and may as well do my cats again. I was told by a vet that it didn't matter if they have never been outside.

2 moms found this helpful

just call animal control and they will handle it. They will be on your side. This happened to my son several years ago. Our neighbors cat had a mouse. My son felt bad for the mouse and took it from the cat. The mouse bit my son, and the mouse had also been bitten by the cat, who was not vaccinated. Lots of trouble ensued. But the animal control officers were on our side since the animal was not vaccinated or licensed. It is a long ordeal but do not back down, this is your child and you need to be for certain that the animal is not carrying rabies.

1 mom found this helpful

Make sure to get her homeowners insurance information so that you can file a claim for your medical costs. The sooner the better as her insurance company will want to see pictures of the injury.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree that the chances of things getting ugly are rare. I live in Texas where we do have more cases than the norm of seeing rabies. I was a vet tech for more than 11 years and only saw two confirmed cases of rabies, both of which were cats. Infection is much more possible with a cat bite or scratch. Quarantine (home or hospital) will provide being able to see any signs of Rabies (usually ten days). If none are noticed, cat will be vaccinated and released and all should be well. I would think since the cat is not current, then a hospital quarantine would be in order. Not sure about the laws in your state but in Texas if an animal is not current on Rabies it can be destroyed and tested against the wishes on the owner. And yes I agree with you. It's not only wise to keep your pets current on Rabies, it's the law.
So sorry that this has happened. Glad that you know where the cat is and it can be quarantined. Some folks are not so lucky to have the animal in custody. Best Regards, C.

Update: I felt compiled to state that cats DO in fact can attack a person without any provocation. I worked at a feline only practice and can assure you that this indeed can happen. Also an animal infected with rabies can two different forms of rabies. One that shows aggression without being provoked and the other being a "dumb" version. This is where the animal seems very friendly and then attacks suddenly. Both can attack without anyone doing anything to provoke it to become hostile and defensive.

1 mom found this helpful

Call animal control and report it. They should deal with the neighbor.
Try not to panic!
Good luck and God bless.

1 mom found this helpful


I don't have advice for you, but just wanted to say that i am so sorry this happened to your son and I hope that he heals soon and that he is ok from all of this! If this lady has had experiences with the cat biting others, why is this cat allowed to be outside??? If I had a cat like that, i would a. find another home for cat to be wild where its not around people b. euthanize the cat-biting multiple people isn't ok in my book.---This lady should be required to keep the cat indoors from now on or not have the cat anymore. Just my 2cents. Best wishes!


1 mom found this helpful

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