Feral cat holds Rockland County neighborhood captive

PEARL RIVER, N.Y. (WABC) -- Neighbors in Rockland County are on edge, all because of a cat.

The wild feline has already attacked at least two people and is still roaming the area.

Joe Soldano didn't think he would spend part of his Fourth of July fighting off a feral cat, but as Soldano was cleaning up in his back yard, the black cat approached.

"All the sudden the thing leaped at me and started hissing, whatever," he said. "So I kicked him, you know, and went down and he came running right back at me. I thought he was going to run away."

He said even after kicking the cat a second time, it just kept coming back. Soldano ran inside and took a picture when the animal planted itself outside of the door and refused to leave.

"He wouldn't go away," he said. "I was hitting the door, and every time I opened it, he was like he wanted to attack again. So finally I went upstairs to the bathroom window, and I threw some cold water down at it, and he's been gone since."

Just around the block things got even more serious when a man was bitten and scratched by the possibly rabid cat, injuries that will require the homeowner to receive rabies shots.

"Unfortunately for our two victims, even if we do locate the animal, we'll never really be sure that it's the animal that attacked them," said Orangetown Police Captain James Brown. "We're going under the assumption that they should receive proper treatment."

The uncertainty has had another impact. Kids are being kept indoors out of fear of the feral feline.

"We haven't been going out to play in backyards and stuff, we've been watching for the cat," said Pearl River resident Emily Drum.

"The last couple of days when she was walking over to call for her friend I went back there just in case, so just keeping an eye out," said homeowner Eddie Drum.

As have animal control officers in the area of Lark and Hawk Streets, Edsall Terrace and Bocket Road. No sightings could mean the cat has already died from rabies, little consolation for a quiet residential neighborhood that remains on high alert.

Police put out a reverse 911 call reminding residents not to come in contact with the cat if spotted.

Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.