A Pittsburgh woman and her young daughter and nephew are receiving treatment for rabies after they were attacked by a feral cat on Friday, according to the Pittsburgh Police.
The disturbing incident occurred around 3 p.m. on Royal Street in the city’s Spring Hill section, KDKA News reports.
The mother, Nicole McGrady , was outside with her 3-year-old daughter and 3-year-old nephew when the cat attacked them.
Alyse Quigley, a neighbor who tried to help the victims, said it seemed like a scene from a horror movie.
The Allegheny County Health Department has confirmed that the attack was unprovoked.
Alyse said her neighbor, Nicole, was scratched and bitten on her legs. Her 3-year-old daughter was bitten on the arm, and her 3-year-old nephew on the leg and hip.
All three victims suffered deep puncture wounds.
Quigley says the cat was hiding under a car in the driveway.
“So, when they went to walk in the house, it came out of nowhere and grabbed onto the back of her leg. She tried to shake it off. It was so aggressive,” Quigley told KDKA’s Kym Gable.
“When they all ran, it was still trying to get in the front door,” Quigley added.
“And when we went to get in the car to go to hospital, the cat tried to jump into the car, and the police officer came up and he even maced it and it was still coming after us,” she said.
Quigley tried to distract the cat by kicking an empty can of cat food in its direction.
While they rushed to the hospital, Pittsburgh Animal Control Officers captured the cat, which later tested positive for rabies, KDKA reports.
“You have to worry about your kids, your pets and yourself, so it’s very scary,” said Quigley.
The McGrady family received rabies shots at Children’s Hospital.
The rabid cat was euthanized, according to officials.
The Health Department is warning anyone in the area who encountered a white cat with one blue eye and one green one, if they were scratched, bitten or came into contact with its saliva, they should notify their doctor immediately and get medical care.
Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system and causes acute encephalitis—inflammatory swelling of the brain. It is transmitted from animals (mammals) to other animals or humans, most commonly by bites. Rabies infection is nearly always fatal unless prompt treatment is administered before symptoms begin.
Police, animal control officials and the health department are urging people to use caution around any stray cat.