2 cats found, others believed rabid still missing in Henry

Two kittens — one confirmed to have rabies — given away in the parking lot of a McDonough Wal-Mart recently have been located, as well as the mother cat, Henry County officials said Wednesday.

But there were four kittens total in the litter, and officials are concerned for anyone who might have taken the animals or handled them.

A man who accepted one of the kittens took it to a vet after the animal became ill. That kitten tested positive for rabies on Sept. 19, prompting Henry County officials to seek out the other kittens and the mother cat.

The woman who took in the stray mother cat and gave away her four kittens in early September came forward Tuesday after hearing media reports about the rabies concerns. (Previous reports of six kittens in the litter were incorrect.) She brought in the mother cat to be tested. Another woman who had accepted one of the kittens also turned it in to be tested.

The test results should be available Thursday, animal control department spokesman Vince Farah told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Now, Henry County animal control officials need to locate and test the other kittens and anyone who handled the litter. Farah said it’s imperative that anyone who came in contact with the kittens at the Wal-Mart parking lot come forward, because the odds are “99 percent” that every one of the kittens in the litter had rabies.

Rabies is a deadly virus if gone untreated. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Anyone with knowledge of the two remaining kittens — both solid gray and named Maggie and Sweet Pea — that were given away on Sept. 9 at the Wal-Mart or who might have handled the kittens is asked to call the Henry County Animal Care and Control Department at 770-288-7387 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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