CCWW, Chapter Three

Surf City Baby

New Member
I love living in the country. Despite having found ticks attached to my person, being bitten by enough mosquitoes to fell a cow, being attacked by a praying (preying?) mantis, and occasionally having to drive on roads covered with seventeen live frogs per square inch, I love it. One of the things I like most about it is the (feathered and four-legged) wildlife, both naturally wild and presumably domestic. Another is the lessons I learn, seemingly daily, about life far beyond the big city.

Last night we had a barbecue. Since we were under threat of thunderstorms all day, we decided to move our party indoors and so were grilling on the covered front porch. When I stepped out the door to put asparagus on the grill, I found a small black cat eating the food we put out for our two outdoor cats. He didn't bolt, as I expected him to; in fact he was very friendly. I petted him for a few minutes and in so doing noticed that he had an angry open wound, about the size of a half-dollar, on his hip. He didn't seem to be in pain and he didn't limp. My mate and I decided to take him to the emergency vet after our cookout, intending to get him patched up and neutered, then sent to the shelter for adoption. I put the kitten -- he was six months old at the most -- in the garage with food, water, a litter box, and a blanket.

After the party broke up, about 11:30, I took him to the emergency vet. He fought getting into the carrier, and he bit me, just barely breaking the skin and leaving two half-inch bruised welts on my forearm. I didn't think anything of it. While waiting for the vet, this extremely affectionate boy and I played. His meow was a loud, insistent screech, reminding me slightly of Fran Drescher. His purr could've awakened the dead. While I was petting him -- which he never really allowed me to stop doing -- he bit me twice more, both times breaking the skin. He wasn't mean; I hadn't harmed him so he wasn't doing it for protection. In his tiny cat brain he probably saw these as gentle love bites. But it dawned on me that the humane society would have a hard time finding a biting cat a home, no matter why the cat bit.

When the vet came into the room, the first thing she did was to address the bites. She told me I needed to see my doctor right away, because since he was a stray and especially since he had an open wound, the cat could've had rabies. That obviously, stupidly, hadn't even occurred to me.

I asked what would happen to the kitten. She said if I wanted to keep him, I had to keep him in quarantine for ten days to see if he got sick; otherwise, he would have to be put down, his body sent to the health department to be tested. I told the vet we'd intended to pay for his medical treatment and neutering, but that we could not take in another cat. The vet said just that was far more than most other people would do. Knowing the sweet kitten now had to be euthanised, this was small comfort.

I spent another fifteen minutes in the office completing forms to report the possible exposure to rabies. I learned that the health department would notify me whether or not the cat was infected. I went home to tell my beloved what had happened, then went to the emergency room. I felt silly as hell to be there with three kitten bites, and told the intake nurse so. She said, "Don't. Rabies in humans can be fatal." I had no idea.

The doctor who treated me was a warm and quiet woman. She examined the bites, then explained the rabies vaccine. First I'd be given injections of rabies immunoglobulin at the bite sites. Then I'd receive a tetanus shot and the first of five injections of the rabies vaccine. She explained that if the health department reported that the cat did not have rabies, I did not have to complete the vaccine regimen.

I won't describe the immunoglobulin injections. You might pass out. Suffice to say that the doctor apologized repeatedly throughout the procedure, and that the worst bite is now encircled by six new puncture wounds and I can't even see the bite marks. The doctor covered the bites with gauze and wrapped my arm to look like a mummy's. Then she gave me a script for antibiotics and said a nurse would bring in the tetanus and vaccine injections.

A short time later, three nurses and a nursing student appeared with six needles. I said, "I thought the other five shots were spaced out over a month." One of the nurses said, "they are. These are just the first one." I must've blanched because they said, "are you okay?" I told them I was fine; I was just wondering how painful those shots would be since they had to bring three people to hold me down.

When it was all over, I had a puncture wound in each shoulder, one in each thigh, and one in each butt cheek. I'd asked them to give me both butt shots in the right buttock because I am left-cheeked, but no dice. I'd commented on one of the nurses' obvious love of purple: her scrubs, stethoscope, shoes, and things pinned here and there were all purple. The lone male nurse said "We call her Barney." As he was dressed in an absurdly bright version of OR green, I said, "then you must be Baby Bop." The women loved it and I was their heroine. Then they stuck me with needles and said I had to wait 45 minutes before I could leave, to be sure I didn't have an adverse reaction. The only adversity the whole affair held for me was my $100 ER copay and getting home at 4:30 AM.

I've decided to complete the vaccination even if the cat didn't have rabies. A lot of strays and wildlife are around our house (which is on more than an acre with 2/3rds of our land natural) and we trap feral cats for spay/neuter clinics. It makes sense that at least one of us, the Crazy Cat Women of Waldorf (CCWW), should be vaccinated.
 
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RoseRed

American Beauty
PREMO Member
Good luck to you! I certainly hope the cat was not rabid. From what I understand, the rabies shots are quite painful. Keep us updated.
 

Hello6

Princess of Mean
Thank you for caring for that little black kitten. I'm a Crazy Cat lady myself: took in 4 cats in 3 years while I was living in Great Mills. You're better than most people.
 

Surf City Baby

New Member
Thanks, all, for your remarks. Strange: I don't feel like it was any big deal. Inconvenient & painful, but worth it. I wasn't about to ignore a hurt animal.

I'm supposed to hear from the MD health department by four this afternoon as to whether the cat was rabid.
 

Surf City Baby

New Member
Originally posted by Hello6
You're better than most people.
No, actually, I'm not, Hello6. I just can't stand to see an animal suffer, and I'll always do whatever I can to alleviate an animal's suffering. And I grieve that this cat had to be put down.
 

Surf City Baby

New Member
Originally posted by Surf City Baby
I grieve that this cat had to be put down.
Grieving more now. Just heard from the health department: he didn't have rabies at all. I suppose I can comfort myself w/ the knowledge that as a biter he would've been hard to place. But that is very small comfort. :bawl:
 

cattitude

My Sweetest Boy
Several years ago, my family went through pretty much the same ordeal. I was a foster mother for the Montgomery County Humane Society. I had a very small kitten with a wound on her leg. She began acting very oddly. After a few days of observation by a vet, it was determined that she probably had rabies and had to be put down to confirm it and she tested positive. My husband, me and my 3 children had to have the shots. My youngest was about 3 at the time. The shots were not bad at all. The first ones stung a bit and the rest were no worse that any shot. Hardest part for me was losing the little kitten.:frown:

Sorry to hear somebody else had to go through the same ordeal.
 
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Hello6

Princess of Mean
Originally posted by Surf City Baby
Grieving more now. Just heard from the health department: he didn't have rabies at all. I suppose I can comfort myself w/ the knowledge that as a biter he would've been hard to place. But that is very small comfort. :bawl:
You did the right thing, take comfort in that.
I have quite a few cats. 3 of them are 10+ and when the time comes when they have to cross the bridge, I will definately be looking for biting cats. I think 4 out of my 9 cats bite for fun. Life just wouldn't be the same without getting a chomp on my arm on a daily basis. I'm hoping to adopt the "unadoptable" As long as they're using a litterbox, a cat will have a home with me.
I feel bad for you too. All those shots and efforts and the little thing had to be put down:bawl: :bawl:
 
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