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from The Sacramento Bee


Citrus Heights sets traps after cat attacks

By Walt Wiley -- Bee Staff Writer - (Published April 27, 2002)

Animal-control officials in Citrus Heights are seeking a vicious cat that has attacked several people, inflicting injury that in at least one case has required medical attention.

Susan Hopkins was taking out the garbage Wednesday evening when the cat leaped at her face, knocking her to the ground.

She managed to throw up her left arm and ward off the assault, but still suffered deep wounds in her arm, abdomen and thigh, she said.

Now officials are attempting to trap the cat to make sure it is not rabid. If it is not located in 10 days, Hopkins will have to receive a series of injections to protect her from contracting rabies.

And neighbors are calling to tell of run-ins they have had with the animal in response to fliers Hopkins and her husband, Kevin, posted on Thursday around their St. Andrew's Court neighborhood off Old Auburn Road near Sunrise Boulevard.

"One woman told us the thing had attacked one of her grandchildren and her son-in-law, and I'll tell you, it sure attacked me," Hopkins said.

"I was taking out the garbage, and when I saw it, I tried to shoo it away. It turned away, then turned back and jumped right at my face," she said. "I managed to get my arm up, but it really clawed and bit. I've got some really deep wounds in my left forearm."

She said the cat is one that has been familiar in the neighborhood for years but is thought to have been abandoned when its former owners moved away.

Neighbor John Chardoul said a few days before Hopkins' ordeal, he casually reached down to scratch the cat behind the ears when it sauntered into his yard, and it purred loudly until he stopped scratching.

"Then it jumped at me and wrapped its forelegs around my leg and and started clawing with its hind legs. Luckily, I had on heavy jeans and boots and I was able to just kick it away."

The cat is believed to be a male because of its tomcat swagger, Chardoul said. He guessed it weighed 12 pounds, with long hair, brown on the head and tail and cream and gray on the chest and body.

The Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation Department, which provides animal-control services for Citrus Heights, placed traps at the Hopkins residence seeking to catch the cat, said animal control supervisor Susan McPherson.

The Hopkinses also rented and placed traps on their own.

"We're going to need to catch this cat," said Vicki Giles, county veterinarian. "Far better we catch it than make that woman go through the rabies treatment."

Despite the need for such precautions, she said, the animal is less likely to be rabid than to be simply overaggressive with mating-season hormones.

"This is the time of year. It's not common, but it's not unheard-of, for tomcats to become that aggressive during the mating season," she said.

Copyright © The Sacramento Bee

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