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See cat gifts for part I.

Boa Cat's bat is lost under the fridge....

I go back to sleep because it's 1 am. In the morning I contact a friend to meet me around 4 at my house to pull the fridge out to try to find the bat. Hopefully dead.

But... rabies. Darn it.

I go to work and call the veterinarian. Miss Boa last had a rabies shot in 2009. Bad mom. They schedule her to come in at 4:30. They call back and move it up: the sooner the rabies shot is on board, the better. I will take her at 2:15.

Next I call my Health Department. I've known the Infectious Disease RN for 17 years.

"You touched the bat?" she asks.

"Yes, it was one am and I was asleep and I thought it was her sparkly ball."

"Did it bite you?"

"No, it was firmly clamped in Boa's mouth."

She does research. "Still counts as an exposure. Bring us the bat if you can find it. If not, you get rabies shots. 1-2% chance of rabies in a bat in the wild here. When someone is bitten in the house, 6% chance. Since the cat caught it, it's in between. Was the cat outside?"

"Well, I'd let the cat back in at 10 pm and I don't think she had the bat with her, because she would have shown me. So I think she caught the bat in the house." That is not a terribly comfortable line of reasoning. I don't keep screens up because we have virtually no mosquitoes. Too cold on our little peninsula on a peninsula. Maybe I should put screens up. Dang bats.

At 2 pm I rush from clinic home, grab the cat carrier out of the garage, stuff Boa in it which freaks her out and roar off to the veterinarian. Who has also been doing research. She checks Boa over for bites, but it's sort of hard to tell on a small black cat. Boa gets her rabies shot. Now she is to stay in home quarantine for 45 days! No going outside, no one else is to pat her and I am to call the vet if she starts acting weird. Bitey. Or neurologically weird. Or foaming at the mouth. She is acting weird in the vet's office but that's mostly because I grabbed her and stuffed her in the carrier. Bad mom, again.

The vet says that there has been one bat to cat rabies transmission in 2015 in our county. Dang. Also that if Boa had NEVER had a rabies shot, the recommendation would be to put her to sleep. I am glad she's had some.

Home and Boa's food, water and catbox are moved into the part of the house that I can block off with two doors. My daughter will still have to come in because the bathrooms are both there, but she doesn't pat the cat anyhow because she's a little allergic. Boa is not allowed in her room.

Now for the bat. I WOULD like to find it. I start wiggling the refrigerator out from the wall. My friend arrives. He weighs around 220 and moves the fridge with much more ease. No bat. Darn. I am picturing it crawling up in to some little hole in the fridge and dying, while I get rabies shots.

Next we tilt the fridge up, sticking cans under the front. No bat visible.

"They usually go up," he says. We simultaneously look at the ceiling and there is the bat. Tiny. 2 by 1 inch folded up, near the heater. Poor bat. It looks huddled and pathetic.

We punch holes in the top of a yogurt container. I am not tall enough on the step stool. The vet instructions say to call the sheriff. No way, we are DIY. He climbs on the stool and pops the yogurt container over the bat. I hand up a pie scraper and he brings it down and we pop the lid on.

"Can't we let it go?" he says. I would like to too. "No, poor bat, it's going to the health department." I suspect it's not terribly healthy after being cat mauled anyhow, or we would not find it.

My friend leaves, with my thanks, after we sweep under the fridge and push it back. Now what to do with the bat? I don't want it in with the quarantined Boa, she might be too interested. I don't like it being in this part of the house: what if a friend of my daughter's gets curious? I take the bat container and lock it in my car for the night.

In the morning I call my 9 am patient to say I want to change his appointment. "That's ok, because I am back in the hospital. They are doing what you said the ER should do last Friday. I feel so much better." Cool.

At 9 I take the bat to the Health Department. They send it same day to Seattle and the results will be back the next day, about 4:30 pm on Friday. I check with Short Stay at the hospital and they are open on Saturday. The rabies shots can wait until then, but shouldn't wait until Monday. I may have to go to the emergency room for orders and ask the Health Department nurse if I can go Saturday am instead of Friday night. Friday night is a mess. Yes, I can.

Back to clinic and work. Poor bat.

At 4:30 I get the call. No rabies! My cat is free and I don't get rabies shots!

I think I will be better about keeping the cat's shots up to date....

And I let Boa Cat out of quarantine.

One interesting detail: I touched the bat and was therefore exposed. Washington State pays for the rabies analysis, because the state does not want people with rabies. If I had not touched the bat, then the state will not pay for the check just for my cat's sake. I think that I would be given the choice of paying for it myself or just keeping my cat in quarantine for the 45 days. I agree that we don't want people with rabies running around and dying on us, so I do think it is an appropriate use for our tax money. Rabies is lethal. There are very very few recorded persons surviving rabies. Hooray for the Health Department.


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