The Israeli rabies experience.

Well, now I know what it’s like to wonder if you have rabies from a stray cat… in Israel.

Last night, hanging out in the hood, a small kitten – probably two months old – ran into our friends’ house and after several other attempts, we were resorted to chasing it into corners, until it got stuck and I grabbed it from the back. I held it out in front of me and raced outside while the kitten, stuggling furiously, managed to scratch my arm and hiss at me. Pretty normal cat captivity stuff, if you ask me.

I managed to chuck it over the gate (it’s true what they say about kittehs landing on their feet) and tend to my wounds. I knew deep down all was fine; the chances were ridiculously low and the kitten was normal looking, fearful and pretty much reacted rightly. But, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t completely morbid inside, so I assumed that I was developing crazy-syndrome and should really go to the clinic in the morning.

The clinic led to the doctor, the doctor led to the Jerusalem Health Ministry to double-check and to record the case.

I will say this on behalf of the Jerusalem municipality: the Health Ministry was a pleasant surprise. Most people there – all colors and stripes and numbers of layers of clothing – were there to get travel shots. I went straight to the “kalevet” office (כלבת, rabies) and gave over my account. I was told to go see the in-house rabies/scary-spreadable-disease doctor and he was also quite pleasant. He calmly let me know there hasn’t been a rabies case in four years in the Jerusalem area, and that any cases they’ve had since then are from the Golan Heights.

So, if you live in the Golan Heights, watch out for stray kitties in your homes.

Here are the battle scars, in case you’re into that sort of thing:

kitteh battle scars

Definitely a learning experience, albeit not asked for; except for maybe picking up a stray kitten in my bare hands. Last year I was bitten by a domestic dog in the States. I went through the mandatory morbid period and went in for a tetnis shot. Somehow, recording my case with the Health Ministry made me feel good. Like I was part of something bigger: a large potential-rabies pool.

As for the rest of my day? Let’s just say the rabies fears were the highlight. But that’s for another time.

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