DUBAI: A stray cat attacked a four-year-old boy while his family was dining in an open-air section of a popular pizza outlet in Rashidiya.
The fierce feline sank two fangs into Crisantino’s right leg on May 31 as his parents and nine-month-old sister were sitting in the extension of the restaurant’s dining area.
The incident happened soon after the family’s order arrived with one of three cats waiting in the sidelines attacking the boy.
“He suffered two punctures, probably from the cat’s fangs. The cat must be very hungry,” said the boy’s horrified mother, Cristina Quindao-Mercado, a Filipina secretary at a contracting company.
The family said they regularly dine at the restaurant. “We’d eat there almost every week. That same cat who bit our boy growls fiercely when you try to shoo her away. That night we had no choice but to eat outside because all the tables in the covered dining area were occupied.”
The incident happened after the mother asked the boy to move closer to the table. “The cat suddenly attacked him when he lifted the chair,” she said.
As a precaution, the family took Crisantino to a nearby clinic where he was given anti-rabies shots. It costs up to Dh1,000 to get the required five shots. “We’re afraid of rabies because an uncle of mine died of rabies after he was bitten by a pet puppy,” she said.
The boy completed three of the five shots on June 8.
The mother said after she informed the customer service section, she was told the chain won’t do anything, not even to reimburse the cost of the shots. “The restaurant manager told me they can’t do anything about the cats.”
“As far as I’m concerned, since this is the extension of their dining area, it’s their (restaurant’s) responsibility to secure the place,” said Cristina. “It happened to my child. Tomorrow, who’s next?” she said.
“Now I’m afraid of getting anywhere close to the restaurant.”
Dubai Municipality vet Dr Hisham Ahmad Fahmi said last year there had been no reports of diseases transmitted by either cats or dogs in the UAE, though he still advised caution when handling pets, let alone strays.