A 4-year-old boy was outside a North Carolina bowling alley when a cat emerged from underneath a car and started attacking, media outlets report.
As the feline scratched through Aaron Duncan’s shorts, the boy’s father stepped in to help on Sunday night, WCTI reports.
“My first instinct was, get the cat away from him,” dad Kaleb Duncan told the station.
That’s when “the father kicked the cat until it let go of the boy” outside Bowlarena Lanes in Jacksonville, WCTI reports.
Kaleb Duncan managed to “incapacitate” the feline while animal control officials arrived, according to WITN.
“I did what I had to do to protect my son,” said Duncan, who wasn’t hurt in the attack, The Daily News reports.
His 4-year-old wasn’t the only child that encountered the feral cat, the newspaper reports.
Two girls were attacked near the bowling alley on the same day, WITN reports.
Officials say the cat died after scratching all three kids, and its body “tested positive for rabies,” WCTI reports.
Now, the children are “being treated with proper vaccines and under medical care,” the Onslow County Health Department wrote in a comment on its Facebook page.
Though humans who get rabies rarely survive, a vaccine can protect people who have been exposed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
People who get the virus have flu-like symptoms before experiencing hallucinations, trouble sleeping or other symptoms, according to the CDC.