Boy improving after rabid bobcat attack

by Joe Kovac Jr.

Macon (GA) Telegraph, October 1, 1998

A 2-year-old Baldwin County boy who survived a weekend scrape with a rabid bobcat, or as he calls it, a "mean kitty cat," is expected to recover.

Kelap Harrison was on the porch at his grandparents' house in Toomsboro Saturday morning when the nub-tailed cat swatted him and bit his head. The boy had stepped out to greet his grandpa, who was returning from work.

"I walked up on the top step and there that dadgum bobcat was. He was raised up and his eyes looked like two balls of fire," said the grandfather, Franklin Harrison, who then rushed to his truck for his 12-gauge shotgun.

Before he could get back, though, Kelap was outside on the porch, and the black-speckled bobcat had attacked. It slapped the boy, bit his face and head, and then tried to run off. But Franklin Harrison shot and killed the female cat in his neighbor's driveway. Wildlife officials later determined the animal was rabid.

Authorities don't know where it came from, but there have been no widespread reports of animals in Wilkinson County being infected.

Kelap was never hospitalized, but began taking a series of shots Saturday to keep him from getting sick.

"Mean kitty cat is what he was calling it," Franklin Harrison said Wednesday. "I said, 'Baby, it wasn't no kitty cat, it was a bobcat.' "

He said Kelap is "healing up good now."

The boy's grandmother, Shirley Harrison, said, "If anything, it's made him a little meaner."