By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
A Franklin County woman must undergo a series of shots after being severely bitten by a rabid cat.
It happened last Wednesday at a home in the Nails Creek Community near Carnesville.
Franklin County Environmental Health Director Louis Korff said the woman was trying to help a stray cat that wandered into her yard.
“A lady had a cat walk across her property and she wanted to protect it from her dogs so she walked up to it and it appeared friendly,” Korff said. “So, she reached out to pick the cat up and it attacked her. The cat turned out to be rabid.”
Rabies is always fatal in humans unless a series of post-exposure vaccines can be given as quickly as possible.
Korff said the victim in this case was bitten several times in the upper arm area.
“She was bitten in the upper arm area and she was mauled,” Korff said. “By trying to befriend a stray cat, she has put herself in grave danger.”
He said the cat showed obvious signs of rabies, including foaming at the mouth, which is caused by a constriction of the throat and is a sign the animal is near death.
Korff said this is the fourth cat to be positive for rabies during his ten-year career in Franklin County.
He again warned people not to go near a wild animal, even if it looks healthy and to stay away from stray cats or dogs – especially if they are acting or look sick.
“Just walk the other way and call 911 or your local law enforcement agency,” he said. “And make sure your pets are vaccinated for rabies. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to prevent the spread of the disease.”
Korff took the cat to the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter and had it euthanized.
The name of the woman who was bitten has not been released.