FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- When a Cumberland County family sheltered a sick, stray cat, they didn't realize how dangerous that act of kindness could be.
The stray found its way to Hayfield Drive, off of Wade-Stedman Road in Wade on Dec. 13. The residents' two dogs tried to attack the cat. According to animal control, one of the dogs bit the person who tried to intervene.
The cat was taken indoors and cared for until Monday. The caregivers took the cat to the veterinarian who immediately advised them the animal showed neurological signs of rabies.
The State Public Health Lab in Raleigh confirmed that the cat tested positive for rabies Wednesday.
According to animal control, the two exposed dogs and other family pets were all up to date on rabies vaccinations, and the family has been advised to seek medical treatment.
This is the 12th case of rabies in Cumberland County for 2014.
Animal control urged all pet owners to check the vaccination status of their pets. Local veterinarians can provide vaccinations or booster shots if needed.
There are signs of rabies in animals to watch for, such as changes in behavior. They may become aggressive and attack for no reason, according to animal control. Wild animals could lose their fear of people and act tame.
Rabid animals may walk in a circle, drag a leg or fall over. Some are unable to eat or drink. Animals infected with rabies typically die within a week of becoming ill.
The director of Cumberland County animal control said avoiding wild animals and keeping your distance from stray dogs and cats is the first step in preventing an animal bite.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, animal control advises you immediately wash the wound under running water for at least ten minutes with lots of soap. You should also seek medical attention and call local animal control and/or the local Sheriff's office.
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Cumberland County cat tests positive for rabies
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