Possible Exposure to Rabies - needs advice
A week ago today I was bitten by a stray cat at my father's house. We live in a rural area, and the cat has been wandering off and on Dad's property for about a month. He appeared to be well and wasn't foaming at the mouth or anything like that.
I had him indoors with me and was petting him when he bit me twice on my right hand. I was going to let this go, but some people said "he might have had rabies - better get it checked out" and others said "just let it go, chances are he was ok, especially if he's been at your father's for that length of time and seemed ok". I don't know who to believe.
I went to the ER and the doctor told me to call the health department and they would impound the cat for 10 days for observation. Only problem is, when I called the health department they said that what the hospital told me was wrong. I was told it would be up to me to find a place to keep the cat. I'm not allowed any pets in my apartment building, and Dad refused to keep him. So, Dad tried to put him down, but the cat took off.
Yesterday someone told me they thought they saw the cat, but when I tried to track him down near where it was sighted, I left empty-handed.
So I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. I don't know if the cat is still alive, and I don't want to have those shots. I have a history of severe health problems, including cancer, asthma, etc. I can't afford to get sick. If that cat did expose me to rabies and I don't have those shots, then I'm done for. And even if he didn't expose me to rabies, what if those shots, if I go through with them, make me sick? Has anyone been known to get sick from them?
I don't know what to do. If anyone out there has any suggestions, I would be grateful. Thank you!