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Fort Worth animal control goes door-to-door warning of rabid cat | Dallas - Fort Worth

FORT WORTH - Fort Worth Animal Care and Control staffers are looking for victims they hope do not exist: people bitten by a rabid cat.

Brandon Bennett is the Fort Worth Code Compliance Director.

“There's even a greater concern that children have touched it, have been scratched by it [or] potentially been bit by it,” Bennett said.

It happened on Adlong Drive in far North Fort Worth. A woman thought a feral, gray-and-black tabby was injured. When she tried to help the cat, it scratched and bit her.

“It was tested positive for rabies,” said Animal Care and Control supervisor Nancy Butler.

Rabies is extremely dangerous when untreated.

“If you develop the virus itself, it's almost 100 percent of the time fatal,” Bennett said.

The woman is receiving treatment.

Nearly 5,000 cats per year are picked up in Fort Worth. But rabies is rare.

“It's been at least a decade since we've had a domestic pet come up with rabies in Fort Worth proper,” Bennett said.

Wednesday evening, Animal Care and Control officers went door-to-door, making sure families have not been in contact with the cat.

The rabies virus generally develops within six months of infection. It begins with flu-like symptoms. Once more severe symptoms, such as hallucinations, appear, death can follow within days.

“If you had been exposed to that cat, if your animals were exposed to that cat, you might want to contact your personal physician,” Butler said.

While out on Wednesday, officers found another neighbor recently bitten by another stray cat. That cat will be tested as well.

Officers warn the public to not handle stray cats, and call animal control. A special hotline has been set up during the Thanksgiving holiday at 817-392-2555.

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Hubby rescued a feral cat from the clutches of Barkley's jaws one morning in August 2004 and was scratched and bitten as a result. We went to a doc in the box for treatment and antibiotics and by law this facility reported it to the county Health Department. The phone was ringing when we walked back in the door and they urged him to undergo the rabies injections, along with gamma globulin shots. It took a lot of searching to find a facility that would agree to do the injections-- only one hospital in Dallas County kept the vaccine at that time.
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