Man seeks rabies treatment after confrontation with infected cat on island | Local News

A 31-year-old Glynn County man receives rabies precautionary injections after fending off an attack by a rabid feral cat with a child’s baseball bat around mid-morning Tuesday in the East Beach neighborhood of St. Simons Island.

The man killed the cat with the bat, ending an hour-long standoff in which the aggressive animal held off a house painter in the bed of a work truck, said the man.

The Glynn County Health Department received verbal confirmation late Wednesday afternoon from Waycross officials that the feral cat had rabies, said Coastal Health District spokeswoman Sally Silbermann.

The cat did not bite or scratch the man, but he told The News on Wednesday that he was following the advice of health department officials to get the rabies treatment.

The work day for the pool maintenance man, his co-workers and the painter came to a halt after encountering the rabid cat on 16th Street in East Beach. The man and a few co-workers were surprised to find the painter in the bed of their work truck after returning to the street from a backyard residential pool around 10 a.m., he said.

“We went out to get tools from the truck and the guy is in our truck,” the man said. “We’re like, ‘What is this?’ Then we saw the cat under our truck.

The painter had been stuck in the back of the truck for some time, the man said. Every time he tried to jump off the back of the truck, the cat moved to his spot and was ready to pounce, the painter told pool workers.

The cat had previously chased a dog, then chased the painter into the back of the truck after trying to chase him away with a broom, the man said.

The man had never seen a rabid animal before, but he knew from the start that the cat probably had rabies.

“He’s enraged,” the man said. “He has foaming at the mouth and convulsions. We knew something was wrong. »

The pool crew called their boss, who called animal control from the main office. And they waited for the hot sun to set on the truck.

“He’s sweating like crazy,” the man said of the painter. “We watched this cat for about an hour. I felt bad for him, in the sun in the back of the truck. And there are a lot of tools there, so he didn’t have a lot of room. We couldn’t do anything. The situation closed two construction sites.

It was then that the man grabbed a nearby child’s T-ball bat and a sturdy cardboard box that contained a pool pump motor he was installing.

“I put the box in front of the cat so he couldn’t see me, then I tried to block his view of the guy in the truck,” said the man, whose name is not disclosed due to medical secrecy. “I had the bat to protect me in case the cat came at me.”

When the painter jumped out of the truck, the cat chased him. Then the cat saw the man behind the box.

“As the painter ran away, the cat came out,” the man said. “He saw me and threw himself on me. That’s when I hit him with the bat.

The cat died immediately after hitting it, the man said. He didn’t get any blood on himself or touch the cat.

He then washed the bat in bleach, the man said. An animal control officer arrived soon after and took the animal, he said.

County officials, who said the cat was feral, sent him for testing at a facility in Waycross on Tuesday afternoon. The county health department received verbal confirmation of the rabies late Wednesday, Silbermann said.

The man later told a county health department official that the cat had not bled after being hit. When the official asked if the cat’s saliva could have been airborne during the encounter, he could not answer.

Once contracted, rabies is extremely deadly.

The future father said he was not taking any risks. His first shot is expected on Friday.

“It was crazy,” he said. “But it’s not worth the risk. I’m just going to take the pictures.

The Coastal Health District urges residents to avoid contact with wild animals. District officials are also urging pet owners to ensure their pets are vaccinated and that vaccinations are up to date.

Wild animals such as raccoons, foxes and bats are known carriers of rabies. Aggressiveness, fearlessness in the face of natural enemies and foaming around the mouth are all typical signs of a rabid animal.

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