A cat that attacked two Suncrest residents in two separate incidents last week has tested positive for rabies.
Both the residents were attacked on Legion Street and are now undergoing post-exposure rabies prophylaxis treatments, according to a Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) press release.
The rabid cat interacted with a Legion Street area cat colony and by state law, all the cats must be collected.
“Rabies is spread through saliva,” said Dr. Lee Smith, executive director and county health officer at the Monongalia County Health Department in the release. “So if the cats are eating out of the same bowl and drinking out of the same water trough, not to mention cat fighting, the chance of rabies being spread in this colony is really high.”
If there is no documented proof that the rabid cat has been vaccinated for rabies, it will be quarantined in a double cage with no human or animal contact for six months if someone is willing to pay for it, to make sure it is rabies free. Otherwise, it will be euthanized, according to the MCHD.
Residents of the Legion Street area who have cats and dogs are encouraged to watch their animals and not let them outside unattended for 45 days.
All cats, dogs and ferrets should be up to date on rabies vaccines, as per West Virginia state law. “It is not a suggestion,” Dr. Smith said in the release. “It’s the law.”