A sickly feral cat has been terrorizing a suburban New York town, attacking unsuspecting residents and small pets, authorities and neighbors say.
Police in Orangetown say a black cat has been on the attack since the weekend and are asking residents to be on the lookout.
Chris McKiernan was one of the cat's victims. He told NBC 4 New York Monday he and his family had just returned home from watching the Fourth of July fireworks in town when "out of nowhere, out of the darkness, came this black cat that just jumped and attached itself to me."
"I looked down and it was all over me," he said. "It was a little surreal."
The cat started scratching and biting him, and when McKiernan manged to pry the ferocious feline off him, the cat simply sat there and looked at him, growling and hissing.
"It was wobbling around and it was looking at me and had blood in his mouth. It wasn't a pretty scene," he said
The cat then "jumped back on me, tried to climb up me. And then I finally ripped it off again, and I was able to get the garbage can over it, and it was making all sorts of strange noises," he said.
McKiernan said he tried to keep the garbage can lid over the cat to hold it for rabies testing, but the lid kept moving with the cat inside it. When he lifted the lid for a brief moment, the cat shot out and beelined straight for the woods.
McKiernan received a series of rabies shots after the encounter.
The same night, the cat attacked resident Joe Soldano.
"All of a sudden, I turned and he was right in front of me," he told NBC 4 New York.
"He leaped at me, and I kicked him. And he came again, I couldn't believe it. I kicked him again, like 10 feet," he said. "Then again he came. I kicked him across the patio three times."
Soldano snapped a photo of the cat sitting on the welcome mat at his door once he was safely inside his home. He said the cat waited there for 10 minutes.
On Sunday morning, neighbor Patricia McGowan's family was on the deck for breakfast when they heard "this commotion of cats screaming at each other."
McGowan saw the feral cat attacking her own pet cat.
"We started yelling for it to stop, and our cat ran under the deck and the other cat just followed her," she said.
McGowan said her daughter had seen the feral cat in the driveway and it appeared very thin and was wobbling.
McGown took her cat to the vet, and it appeared to be fine but was administered extra medication as a precaution.
Incidents have been reported in the areas of Edsall Terrace, Lark Street, Bocket Road and Hawk Street in Pearl River.
Animal control and local police are searching the area for the animal. Officials say residents should avoid the animal if they see it and contact Orangetown Police at 845-359-3700.