Last week I was combing my cat Murphy, and he decided he wasn’t happy with the activity.

Murphy aka "Killer"

Usually when he’s had all he can take, he reaches back and bites the comb. This time my index finger was in the way, and he chomped down on the side of my knuckle with his incisor.

Yes, he is still alive and unharmed, even with the instantaneous pain in my finger that would have been much relieved by throwing him across the room.

By Thursday afternoon my finger was red, hot, swollen, and unbending despite my having cleaned the wound Wednesday night. So off I go to the neighborhood Urgent Care, where I find out that any animal bite that comes in for treatment must be reported to the local Animal Control.

I’d just taken the bad boy for his annual vet visit, so all his shots are up-to-date, including his rabies vaccination. I filled out the bite reporting form, and included the date of his rabies shot and the name of my vet. The folks at Urgent Care gave me 10 days of antibiotics, told me to come back if it got worse, and sent me home. I thought that would be the end of this adventure.

My doorbell rang on Thursday morning. An Animal Control officer was there to investigate my cat bite. I showed both the requested rabies inoculation certificate and the cat, who was happy to demonstrate his vicious side by flopping upside down in my arms for a belly rub. She informed me that state law requires that Murphy be quarantined for 10 days to see if he develops rabies.

Since he’s an indoor cat, his sentence could be carried out via house arrest. The terms of the quarantine include not allowing any other animals or people into my house, lest they be exposed to rabies; not allowing Murphy out of the house; not giving him any vaccinations, and not “disposing” of him before the end of the quarantine.

Additionally, there would be two more visits from Animal Control to observe Murphy and check that he has no rabies symptoms. The first visit was last Tuesday at 7:20 am – she wanted to make sure she caught me at home. The last visit should be tomorrow. If Murphy appears well, I will receive the official document that proves quarantine is lifted.

In addition to my Animal Control visits, someone from the local Health Department called me last Sunday afternoon to make sure that I’d received treatment for my bite. He even asked what antibiotic I’d been prescribed. When I told him augmentin, he replied, “Oh good, that’s the right one.”

My finger can now bend and is back to its normal size, which means I can again ply both the keyboard and the harp. And I have a new warm, cozy feeling in my heart: With a lifetime of being in the political minority, never before did I think that the government was so concerned with my well-being. So delightful after all these years to know that they really do care!!!


11 thoughts on “Quarantine!

  1. Yikes … sounds like you and Murphy are going to be OK. A painful way to find out that you are more than just a number (or vote) to the goverment. My son picked up a stray cat when he was 4 years old that promptly bit him in the flesh between thumb and index finger. It was the perfect place for the infection to go straight to his glands. Hewas soon looking like a mumps victim and there was talk of lancing under his ears if the swelling didn’t subside … which mercifully it did. “Cat Scratch Disease” is a serious injury, and I’m glad you took care of yourself.


    1. Thanks! The MD I saw said they don’t worry to much about dog bites, but that cat bites (and people bites!) are very bad to get infected because their mouths are just nasty. Let’s hope that’s the end of our experiences with this topic!


  2. Oh! My! God! Why can’t I click ten ‘like’ buttons in a row? Really?! I mean really?! There are cultures and societies with that much care? Oh my god. I still can’t calm down. I’m sorry if it’s too personal question but is it possible for you to name a country, a region, any geographical landmark ( even a continent would do) where this all has happened?

    I wonder, what do they do with just aggressive animals? There are some pets who scratch and bite on a regular basis, what’s then?

    I’m sorry, I’m asking too many questions. But that’s just so unbelievable 🙂

    I wish you to get better soon. Did they say it was infection?


    1. All of this happened in North Carolina, in the USA. It seems that in North Carolina, any time a person seeks medical care for a dog/cat bite or scratch, it has to be reported. Then animal control can quarantine your pet at home, at a vet office, or at the animal control office. I guess I’m lucky that a cat scratch or bite has not been infected before, so I’ve not had to do a quarantine. Thanks for your well-wishes. The antibiotic got rid of the infection in my finger very quickly.


  3. Wow! They really consider a cat bite to be serious business!

    In my house, we are not allowed to touch the remote controls unless the cat has decided we can. She lays across them and “guards” them. 😉


    1. Yes, the cats are in charge of the remotes here, too. And they have even figured out how to change channels. I’m glad they can’t yet work the telephone. I’d be concerned about them finding the Home Shopping Network. ;>)


  4. You must have a big problem with rabies in your area! I am so glad your finger has responded quickly to the anti-biotics. I lost the use of a finger (could not play) for nearly two months once because I tried to help a feral cat. Really bright move. Not a single official agent came out to see me! I love the imagery of your ferocious cat asking for a belly rub.


    1. There’s problems here with rabid raccoons and fox, but there’s not so much rabies danger for a vaccinated cat whose feet have never in his life touched dirt outside. We live parallel lives: I too was mauled trying to help a feral cat, some 20-odd years ago. Also not the brightest thing I’ve ever done. Was scheduled to start the rabies shots when I finally caught cat in a trap. Took an act of congress to get animal control to respond then. The cat didn’t have rabies, so I didn’t have the shots – but the cat had to lose his head to find that out. I still feel bad about that….. Janet


  5. They went a tad overboard! Even with the rabies vaccine I guess they just can’t be too careful..ha! I’m glad all is well and Murphy is in the clear and you are back to harping etc.


    1. My thought is that they don’t quite have enough to do. I wish they were as concerned about the coyotes who have moved into my neighborhood as they were about my finger!


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