The Adorable Wild Kitten Incident (Rabies Scare)

The Adorable Wild Kitten Incident (Rabies Scare)

orange cat walking.

For the past couple of days, I have been hearing a kitten crying. Yesterday I found him, an adorable orange kitten, in my backyard. He was meowing towards the other side of the wall where a cat was located. I figured he was stuck on this side and wanted to get back to the other cat which I could hear, and saw a glimpse of.

Whenever I tried to approach the kitten, he would run away from me. So I decided to walk to a nearby store to buy cat food and try to feed him. As I expected, he was gone by the time I came back. No idea where he went.

The next morning (today) I heard him again. I heard both the kitten and the cat. But it was too early for me to get up.

Later in the afternoon, I left the house to go buy some coke for Josh. When I came back, I saw from a distance the same cat breastfeeding the kitten on my porch. Naturally, they both ran away towards the back of the house as I approached.

I told Josh and he decided to come out and see. We saw both of them hiding in the bushes. I was carrying some cat food to offer them and we approached them from different angles. Apparently Josh had decided to catch and keep the kitten. I wasn’t necessarily opposed, as I love cats and miss my own very much (we had to leave them in the US).

As he walked further to try to catch the kitten, I was on the other side trying to offer food to the older cat. I threw her some, and she started eating it. She slowly started approaching me and suddenly we both heard a loud kitten cry. Josh had caught the kitten. The big cat ran away.

Josh approached me with the kitten and told me he had been bit. He was definitely bleeding. He said we now had no choice and we had to take him inside in case he experienced strange symptoms over the next few days and possibly to test the kitten.

While Josh stayed outside holding the kitten, I ran to the house, grabbed a box and a towel and came back out to place the kitten inside.

The kitten became frantic as soon as Josh had captured him. He said he’s never seen such behaviour and they must be truly wild cats. I think Josh thought that I wanted to keep the kitten when I was talking about it and went to buy food for them. But I just planned on feeding them and getting to know them as outdoors cats. I don’t think Josh would have tried to catch him if he lived alone, so in a way I thought he did it for me, and I felt bad.

Once in the house, Josh obviously washed the wound, I covered it with Neosporin (all I had) and then called our Indian friend to take him to a doctor. He arrived quite fast and they left (I couldn’t come, as Shekhar rides a scooter).

While they were gone, I googled rabies. I knew the basics: it is a disease that animals can get, and humans can get through animal bites, and there are vaccines for prevention, and you should vaccinate your pets. That’s it.

When I googled it and read more about it, I freaked out a little bit. I had no idea rabies was SO bad! Basically, if a human gets rabies, they die (if not treated promptly). The disease is viral and attacks the central system causing disease in the brain (encephalitis). The symptoms are horrible and once symptoms are shown, basically there is no cure. Also, I found out that incubation of the disease can take 2 to 12 weeks.

Treatment I learned, is a series of injections. Four injections (over 14 days) plus initial rabies immune globulin for people never injected, and just two injections (over 3 days) for people injected before. I also found out that in the U.S. this can cost from $2000 to $10,000. Human rabies injections are very expensive. This is why people usually wait after testing the animal to decide whether or not treatment is needed.

Apparently, domesticated animals are kept at the vet for 10 days for observations, and wild animals are killed to test their brains, the only effective way to test for rabies. So, then I was thinking “oh no! we are going to kill this kitten?”

Anyway, Josh and Shekhar arrived what it felt like after 5 minutes. The doctor was closed, so they went to a next door pharmacy where they found a Rabies Vaccine Kit (medicine and syringe). They bought it, brought it home and we administered it to Josh. This vaccine was 369 rupees, about $6 dollars.

Shocking.

I found out Josh had been vaccinated for rabies while in the US Navy, so we didn’t have to worry about getting the rabies immune globulin, and he only needed 2 shots. Unlike in the U.S., we decided to give him the shot right away, not after testing the animal.

I think this could be a record of how fast a person was treated for a possible rabies bite.

After reading about rabies in google, I freaked out a bit, but if it wasn’t for my faith in God, I would probably had been losing my mind. “Josh and Mani move to India, Josh gets bit by a wild kitten after 25 days and 4 weeks later dies of rabies.” No way. This is not God’s plan, “right God?” He wouldn’t have made us go through all this trouble to leave everything and come to India and die soon after. Plus, I always thought God would somehow make me ready to be able to receive my husband’s death without falling into extreme depression. Right now, I don’t feel ready, so…

Plus, the odds of a kitten having rabies are low right? Since he is so young.

The kitten was so quiet in the box we put him, that I started wondering if he was dead. “I don’t know, maybe he died of fear” I told Josh. But after a while, he started meowing. I felt bad. I felt bad all around: for Josh getting bit, for the kitten trapped in a box, and for the other possible mom cat. Even though it wasn’t my plan to catch them, I felt guilty in a way.

About half hour later, the electrician and Shekhar came without notice to do some work in this small house. Some LOUD work. Drilling, grinding, hammering…

I thought it was the worst possible day to catch a kitten.

I told Josh that since we had treated him anyway, there was no point in keeping the kitten for testing. He just wanted to wait 24 hrs in case some other infection or disease broke through. I don’t blame him. After about 3 or 4 hours, he decided he was going to be OK and we should let the kitten out. The noise was way too loud and going on for a while. Our trust in God should be enough to do so.

Josh let the kitten free, and oddly, the workers finished their work pretty much instantly after letting the kitten go. The odds were too strange. We couldn’t help but think there was some kind of reason or symbolism or work from God’s hand in all of this. Maybe there was some past karma to be worked out. The reasons, we will never know.

And we will never try to catch wild animals again.

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