Rabid Raccoon Bites 88-Year-Old Woman Who Mistook It for Cat

An 88-year-old Hamden woman who opened her sliding door to let in her cat was attacked when the animal she was petting turned out to be a rabid raccoon, according to police.

The woman had opened the door of her Brinsmade Road home at 11 p.m. Sunday after hearing a sound to let in her cat, but unbeknownst to her, a raccoon followed her cat inside, police said.

The raccoon attacked her while she petted it, thinking it was her cat, and it bit her elbow, hand, forearm, lip and chin, police said.

"She's a tough old bird," said the victim's son, Malcolm McKernan. "She fought it off and was able to call on the phone. That's pretty remarkable."

Police said the raccoon charged at two officers when they arrived on scene. They were able to get it outside, where the animal was euthanized.

Hamden's Animal Control Division took the raccoon to the Connecticut Public Health Laboratory to be tested for rabies. Results came back Tuesday and police said the raccoon tested positive for rabies.

The victim was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, and she was treated and released. She received the first round of rabies shots on Monday.

Police said no officers had direct contact with the racoon.

The victim spoke to NBC Connecticut at her home on Monday and said she was doing well.

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