Clinic Stories

Old Yeller- The Cat Sequel

Their cat of many years passed on, so the Isaacs’ adopted a kitten. Cotton came in for her first check up and vaccines and all was fine. A week later they called with a dilemma. Their eight year old daughter was sitting on her bed playing with Cotton, when a very aggressive outdoor cat tore through the screen and entered her bedroom. She screamed and she and Cotton ran for their lives. Mr. Isaacs grabbed a shotgun, cornered the cat and shot it. Animal Control had the cat tested and it was indeed rabid. Despite that Cotton was not in direct contact with the feral cat, Animal Control wanted to take her. She had not been vaccinated for Rabies because she was under 12 weeks old, the youngest age for the vaccine.

The Isaacs did not want to give up Cotton. There were several options short of euthanasia – home quarantine for six months seemed the strictest approach that was justified. The Isaacs said she was never in the same room with the rabid cat. On examination I found no bites or wounds of any kind. After speaking with the Animal Control Officer she agreed that Cotton could stay. At twelve weeks to the day, Cotton was vaccinated for Rabies in the event of another break in. I always imagined the events that night like a scene from a movie - hysteria, the chase, then a deafening blast, ringing ears fading to muffled sobs, smoke hanging in the air. Cotton was probably the least traumatized that night.

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