The Bat and Rabies Saga

So.  Saturday before last I woke up to a bat in my kitchen.  Just hanging on the wall, sleeping.  img_20180908_115122550After I screamed like an idiot, I retreated to my bedroom to consider my position and to wish heartily and deeply that the damn bat would just disappear.

It didn’t.  So after a bit of googling and asking tumblr for advice, I decided I would block off the kitchen with a sheet over the doorway and open the window.  The bat would then go out the window and all my problems would be gone.

So I set up by bat escape plan and made lots of noise doing it and the bat never moved.  The cats and I spent the day locked in the bedroom and I checked on the bat periodically and it continue to not move.  Eventually it got dark and I went in to check on it and it was gone.  HOWEVER,  the sheet had fallen partially down.  So, there was no way to be sure it left.  I checked all over the apartment, but couldn’t find him.  And finally decided, it  left.  I mean there was an escape into nature right there.  Why would it head into the apartment instead?

It was at this point that my brain began to connect some dots.  When I woke up Saturday Morning, the kitten had two tiny scratches of  blood on his nose.  I had blamed her Calico Highness and gave her a stern lecture on being gentle with delicate kittens.  But.  Then I realized that while I was asleep that bat was flying about the house and a bratty grey kitten had seen it and thought it was a magnificent play thing.  And been bitten for his trouble.

I had then taken the kitten into the bedroom to wait out the bat escape plan.  And as kittens are wont to do, it played with me.  And scratched and bit me.  Not so unusual.  Nothing I would even have given a second thought.  But. It turns out that in this area bats are the most likely carriers of rabies.  How nice.

Now the kitten had an updated vaccine, but I didn’t know if that was only to keep it safe but would it stop the virus from just jumping over to me?  Sigh.  I should have caught the bat instead of setting up it’s escape.

So I spent Sunday in an ever increasing level of anxiety over my potential death by rabies.  And because it was Sunday, I couldn’t call the doctor or the vet or the public health officials.

But then Sunday Night, there was a crash and I open the bedroom door – Bat is flying around the damn apartment.  I ran to open the window – my first instinct was to rid my life of the bat.  But then I remembered – I’m supposed to catch the bat.  So I instead I caught the bat.  It landed on the ground and I just put a tupperware on it and slid a place mat under it.  And I caught a bat.

I took him the to SPCA on Monday Morning, and left a message for the doctor and the vet.  The SPCA was not very informative about how I would find out if the bat had rabies.  “I don’t know what happens to them after we ship them out.”  Great.

The vet told me the kitten would be fine.  The doctor told me I had to get a rabies shot.  And that the only place to get a rabies shot is at the ER.  So I had to leave work and go the ER.  That was 6 hours of unenjoyable life.  Most of it just waiting.

If you are interested in how rabies vaccine works, let me tell you.  First they give immunoglobulin, in and around the place you were bitten.  In my case that was many places on my forearm.  So they had two large syringes and two nurses and both of them gave me dozens and dozens of injections in my arm.  I was bleeding from them.  Then they sent in another nurse who gave me 4 more injections.  One in each shoulder and one in each hip.

AND THEN.  There are 3 follow up shots, I had the 2nd one today.  But having said all of that, it’s actually not as bad as it sounds.  It really wasn’t overly painful.  Even the ones in my forearm.  The ER was mostly annoying for the long wait.  The follow ups happen in a pharmacology clinic and the parking is more annoying than the shot.  And all the people have been super nice and kind.

And what is most annoying is that the chances that I could have gotten rabies are so very tiny.  But if you get rabies and don’t get the vaccine before the symptoms – 100% death rate.  And to be honest, getting the vaccines curbed a rampaging anxiety that was consuming me over that weekend.  Particularly since no matter how many different people at the hospital I told this unlikely story to, all of them were – Yeah you need to get the vaccine.

Oh, also my cat got quarantined by Cincinnati Public Heath Dept.  keep-out-quarantine-caution-sign-s-6379 It sounds worse than it is.  He’s just not allowed out and no one is allowed in.  And since that is the normal situation here, it’s not really a thing.  Tomorrow an official from the Public Heath Department is visiting me to see if my cat is still alive.  If he is, I guess they release him from quarantine.  And nothing will change.

So.   By next Monday I will be fully immune to Rabies.  So that’s nice.

I’m not fond of bats.

11 thoughts on “The Bat and Rabies Saga

  1. oh my goodness. I don’t know what to say. That’s one of the scariest things I’ve heard. I’m so sorry you had to go through that but at least it looks like everything has worked out all right.

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  2. Well that sounds eventful! I actually work for the health department. Just for future reference, your local health department should have an after-hours call-in line specifically for rabies cases. As for the bat you captured, it most likely got decapitated and checked for rabies… but good for you for being safe!

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  3. Wow! Just wow! I’ve had a bat in the house a few times. I have thrown a towel over it and released it outside without getting bitten. They don’t freak me out and they do a lot of good eating insects. On my last visit to the vet when my cat got her shots, the vet told me that everyone in the office received the rabies vaccination. If you work with animals, it’s protocol. Glad that you are ok and don’t have to worry. I think the incubation period is two to three weeks. That’s a long time to worry.

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  4. This is one of the most bizarre posts I have ever read and I have been blogging for almost 15 years. You are so calm as you write. I would have been freaking out. I’m talking 911 and crying and carrying on like an insane person. And that would have been over just having a bat in the house. Okay. Maybe not quite that hysterical but I would have been worried.
    I am so glad everything worked out. You are a brave woman!

    And the question we all want to know. Where was that bat hiding all day Sunday?

    I actually love bats. They are one of the coolest and most essential creatures on the planet.

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    1. I know. I don’t know where the damn bat was all day on Sunday. I like bats in theory – as part of natures cycle and getting rid of insects etc. I don’t like them as a practical reality in my house.

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  5. Holy cow! What an adventure. Not fun, not remotely. But excellent detective work on your part. Maybe it saved your life. (Even if it didn’t, pretend. 🙂

    My sister got bitten by an unvaccinated dog this summer. In Rwanda. Rabies shots and it got infected. No Animal Control, either — so the dog is still running around.

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