Health officials are warning residents in one Westchester village to seek immediate treatment if they may have had contact with a calico kitten confirmed to have rabies.
The Westchester County Department of Health issued a rabies alert to Ossining residents who may have seen or touched the kitten near the intersection of James and State streets on or before Saturday, Oct. 1.
The kitten was a light-haired calico, about three or four months old, with white, gray and orange markings. There were reported to be five or six other cats in the area where the kitten was found.
The kitten had been clawing at the pavement and attacked an adult cat before a passerby caught the kitten in a laundry bag, placed it in a dog crate in her car and brought it to animal control officials in Briarcliff, authorities said.
The kitten was confirmed rabid on Wednesday.
The health department used robo-calls to notify residents who live within a quarter-mile of the area where the kitten was found.
"When you see a stray or wild animal acting strangely, it’s best to avoid contact with the animal and alert local authorities to avoid possible exposure to rabies,” said Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. "Luckily, the good Samaritan who brought the kitten in to be tested avoided exposure in this situation, but that isn’t always possible."
Anyone who believes that they or a pet may have had contact with the rabid calico kitten should contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment.
Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or, conversely appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted.