Rabid cat caught in Yonkers Thursday after biting and scratching man


Editor’s note: The press release was provided by the Westchester County Department of Health.

The Westchester County Department of Health is alerting residents that an adult tabby stray cat that was caught on Shelley Avenue near Rockne Road in Yonkers last Thursday, July 11, was confirmed to be rabid.

The cat scratched and bit a man in his front yard Thursday morning.  It was captured by police shortly afterward. The man is receiving preventive rabies treatment.

Anyone who believes they, their children or their pet may have had contact with this cat is encouraged to call the Westchester County Department of Health at 914-813-5000 to assess the need for lifesaving rabies treatment. When administered early enough, before symptoms develop, the treatment is fully effective. Once symptoms occur, the disease is fatal.

The health department used robo-calls to notify nearby residents.

“Stay alert and closely supervise children and pets when outside,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “To protect yourself and your pets, make sure your pets’ rabies vaccines are up to date.”

Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or, conversely appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted.

Residents who see a stray or wild animal acting strangely should avoid contact with the animal and alert local authorities to avoid possible exposure to rabies. Residents are also advised to keep their trash can lids securely sealed and avoid leaving pet food outdoors.

Any physical contact with a wild or unfamiliar animal should be reported to a health care provider. All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000, 24 hours a day.

Keeping pet rabies vaccinations up to date is also important for protection against rabies. New York State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies and receive regular booster shots.  For more information, go to www.westchestergov.com/health or call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010.