Rabid stray kitten causes concern

June 4, 2008 9:51:22 PM PDT
A litter of stray kittens has turned out to be much more dangerous than anyone ever expected. Chester county health officials say one of the animals had rabies, and they're looking for anyone who may have come in contact with the cats. Pickering Valley Food and Farm store in Lionville is a popular store that sells plants and feed for farm animals.

Wednesday night they had signs posted, letting customers know that a rabid kitten was found in the back of the store Saturday, May 24th.

Store Manager Jim Cracas said the staff noticed the 7 to 8 week-old kitten was seriously injured. "It just looked like it was lethargic or looked like it had scarring or something," he told Action News.

It appears the kitten was bitten on its belly by another infected animal. Near the kitten, employees found two of its siblings. They caught them in a cage like this and brought them inside the store, until they could safely be brought to a local animal hospital.

Those 2 other kittens will be quarantined for the next 6 months.

Authorities are now looking for the mother cat and another kitten that disappeared that day.

The Chester county health department is urging anyone who had physical contact with the injured kitten or any other cat in the multi-colored litter, to call the department right away, or a physician.

The injured kitten recently died and tested positive for rabies.

Rabies can spread through contact with saliva or blood. It can lead to a sudden and fatal neurological condition in humans. Symptoms include headache, difficulty swallowing and seizures.

County health officials say anyone who touched the cats could be at risk and should start treatment immediately. You can call the Chester county health department at 610-344-6452.