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