THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Two people are recovering after Thomas County health officials said a rabid cat bit them.
Experts advise that people should take extra precaution around stray animals.
All it takes is one bite, and you're infected with a deadly virus if not treated immediately.
Thomas County Environmental Health Manager Jay Ridenhower said, “If you're bitten, you need to go to the emergency room or private physician as quickly as possible.
Luckily, that's what a man and woman in one Thomasville neighborhood did after they were bitten by a wild cat last week.
“They were just sitting in their yard, minding their own business,” said Ridenhower, “when the cat came out of the woods, bit them, and ran off.
Thomas County Animal Control was able to locate the cat and trap it.
Thomas County Humane Society Executive Director Ed Williams said, ”Instead of cowering in the corner like most stray or feral cats will, she was actually trying to come out of the trap and aggressively grab a hold of somebody.”
The cat's unusual behavior was Williams' first hint that the cat had the rabies virus.
Testing confirmed his suspicions.
“The cat came back positive for rabies,” said Ridenhower.
This is the first time in several years the county has detected rabies in a domesticated animal.
Health officials warn homeowners to be careful when around stray animals, especially cats.
“It could be anybody,” said Ridenhower. “But those who would be more prone to it would be kids that are out playing and not know it, or someone who's feeding neighborhood animals.”
Williams adds that not all strays have rabies, but to report ones that behave uncharacteristically.
If you see stray animals that appear ill or act unnaturally, call Thomas County Animal Control at 229-228-0613.