So, the saga of our severely fucked-up neighbor family continues. A couple of days ago, they knock on our door, grubby two-year-old in tow. The kids say he was scratched by our cat, and they’re taking him to the doctor for it.
Yeah. It gets better.
After they get home from their pediatrician’s office, they come over asking for our cat’s vaccination records. To see if the kid needs rabies shots, you understand.
For a cat scratch.
The doctor put him on antibiotics, “just in case” (because that’s how you maintain and develop healthy immunities in both individuals and groups, right? Everybody should probably be on antibiotics all the time, “just in case”). And, according to the hysterical parents, if our cats aren’t up to date on their vaccines, their poor little snowflake is going to have to get RABIES SHOTS.
Well, the cats aren’t up to date. I thought the rabies vaccine was good for three years (some of them are, at least), but it turns out they need to have them annually. My bad, I admit. So I call Animal Control to find out what we need to do, short of cutting my pretty kitties’ heads off and shipping them to the state health department, to ensure this poor kid doesn’t have to undergo painful and unnecessary vaccination. After having a good chuckle, exclaiming, “Oh, my God, really?” and explaining that they’ve never actually dealt with a cat *scratch* case, the nice officer informs me that in the case of a bite from an unvaccinated animal, what they do is have the owners quarantine the critter for 10 days and then get a vet to sign off on a “bite card”, saying no, this animal didn’t give your kid rabies.
That’s not good enough for Mr. and Mrs. “we’re not worried about our children’s homicidal tendencies but we freak the fuck out over a cat scratch”. After explaining to the father what I’ve been told by the authorities, he blusters, “Well, that’s peachy for you, after ten days you know your cats are going to be fine. My kid could DIE in ten days!” I tried explaining that the incubation period for rabies in humans is measured in months, not days, but he’s having none of it. I also try to explain the purpose of the quarantine, which is not to ensure our cats’ health, but to determine if there’s a need for his kid to get the shots, but he’s having none of that, either. “What I’m saying here is, my kid could DIE.”
From a cat scratch.
Did I mention their mom is a registered nurse? Yeah.
I gave up, gave him the number of the Animal Control officer I’d talked to, and he says he’s going to call back after he talks to his kid’s doctor. When he does, I let my husband deal with him, because I’ve met my quota of conversations with the functionally special needs for the year.
He’s a bit calmer when he calls back, but no less stupid. He’s insisting on a vet-supervised quarantine (I figure his reasoning must be that, well, he’s too dense to realize that an animal who’s drooling constantly and is afraid of light and water might be sick, so we must be, too, right? It takes a certified professional to make that kind of delicate call.), and informs us that “Animal Control told me that 2 out of 10 cats have rabies.”
Really? Two out of ten? You’re sure that’s not one in five? Nope, he insists, two out of ten! And they get it from birds! Really! A mammal-specific virus is transmitted by non-mammalian creatures! He also insists he was told that the incubation period for rabies in humans is 15 days, rather than the commonly accepted and exhaustively-documented 6 months to 7 years, and that Animal Control will provide free boarding (which the department doesn’t have facilities for) and blood tests (which don’t exist).
Of course, Animal Control found all this “information” to be hilarious when I relayed it to them this morning. I doubt they’ve had this good a laugh at the office in a good long while. I’d think it was funny as hell, too, if we weren’t facing the possibility of a $600 boarding bill to ensure that our cat (which they’ve admitted to law enforcement they’re not even sure scratched their child) gave their kid rabies through a method of transmission that’s never been positively documented in even a single case.
I’m all for erring on the side of caution when your child’s welfare is concerned, but this is ridiculous. However, despite the frustration and yes, outright anger, I’m feeling right now, I can’t help but feel a little pity, as well. I mean, it must be terribly scary and frustrating to navigate the world when you’re incapable of rational thought or even processing facts as presented to you. If I were that stupid, I don’t think I’d ever leave the house—I mean, frozen airplane poo could fall out of the sky and kill you! The Weekly World News says so!