The man was attacked after responding to sounds of cats fighting in his neighborhood near the intersection of Hickory Flat Highway and Creek Hollow Drive, according to officials with the North Georgia Health District.
He told officials a white and gray cat he fed often was there and started rubbing against his legs, but the cat suddenly became aggressive and bit him. The cat ran away, but the man shot it when it returned.
The Woodstock man reported the incident to environmental health officials Dec. 6. The cat was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory the same day, with positive rabies test results reported Monday.
The man began post-rabies exposure treatment immediately after the incident, which consists of one shot of rabies immune globulin and four shots of rabies vaccine administered over a two-week period.
Rabies is almost always deadly in humans who contract it and do not receive treatment. Anyone who may have come in contact with the virus must recognize the exposure and get appropriate medical treatment before developing symptoms.
Cherokee County health officials urge residents to protect against rabies by making sure all of their pets are current on rabies vaccinations and to avoid contact with all unfamiliar domestic and wild animals.
For more information about rabies and its prevention, call the Cherokee County Environmental Health Office at (770) 479-0444 or log onto the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.