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Warning issued after rabid kitten attacks 3-year-old NC girl

(Source: CBS 17)
(Source: CBS 17)
Updated: Jun. 22, 2018 at 1:28 PM EDT
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WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) - Wake County officials are issuing a warning after a rabid kitten attacked a child in Wake Forest.

Tiffany Hogan said her 3-year-old daughter Riley is recovering, but she has a warning for parents: don't let your children near any stray animals.

"The cat came out of nowhere, and instantly went for her legs," said Riley's aunt, Heather Hogan.

Tiffany said the family was outside enjoying a summer night Tuesday. It was just before 8 p.m., and they were walking back toward their Height Lane home when Riley was attacked.

"It wouldn't let go," Hogan said.

Hogan said the kitten pounced on the little girl, knocking her to the ground. She said she tried to get the animal off a screaming Riley.

"He finally let loose and he came back again. I had to get my son to call my husband to help me," Hogan said.

That's when Hogan realized the kitten might be rabid, something confirmed Thursday by Wake County Animal Control.

Hogan said the kitten looked like it had been previously attacked by another animal.

"His eyes were going crazy. He was foaming. You could tell something was really wrong with the kitten," she said.

Hogan said there are roughly 40 wild cats in her neighborhood, but none have ever seemed sick or aggressive.

"That's what i couldn't get over. A baby kitten," Hogan said.

This isn't the only attack like this in recent weeks.

On June 11, Wake County Animal Control responded to a report of a rabid raccoon on U.S. Highway 64 West between Davis Drive and Fern Valley Lane.

Officials said on May 16 a rabid cat attacked two people in Apex near Olive Chapel Road and New Hill Olive Chapel Road.

In April, officials said a rabid coyote bit a Wake Forest man along Lariat Ridge Drive.

"I'm concerned because I have little ones that like to play and if something is bigger than them, how do you get it off," Hogan said.

As for Riley, mom Tiffany Hogan said the toddler is undergoing rabies treatment.

Wake County officials said the chances of coming across a rabid animal increases in the warm weather.

Officials are encouraging pet owners to make sure their animals rabies vaccinations are up to date. The Wake County Animal Center holds rabies clinics throughout the county, providing vaccines for only $5.

Here are additional steps from Wake County Animal Control that people can take to prevent the spread of rabies:

  • When pets are outside, they should be in a fenced-in area or on a leash. Do not leave food outside for pets, because it will also attract wildlife.
  • If you see a wild or unfamiliar animal, do not approach it, even if it seems to be behaving normally. Animals showing signs of rabies should be reported to local animal control as soon as possible.
  • Infected bats can also spread rabies. If you find a bat in a living space of your home, try to enclose it in a small room or closed-off area, and call animal control. Do not let the bat out of your house.
  • If a wild animal showing signs of rabies bites your pet and draws blood or gets in a fight with your pet, the pet is at risk for exposure to rabies. Call animal control for assistance right away. Pets that have had a rabies vaccine need to get a booster shot within 72 hours of the bite.
  • If you or someone you know has been bitten by a potentially rabid animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and contact your doctor.