Originally Posted by Wyandottes13
I am a BIG cat enthusiast ( not saying I am an expert, though) , but it seems like you were petting him, he had enough, and maybe you kept on going, and he bit you to stop you. Or maybe he had a bite, scratch, or sore spot that was sensitive, and you touched it and unintentionally hurt him. I know strays and part feral cats can quickly have enough of petting. Did you see any warning signs like ears slightly back or flattened, or tail twitching?
Anyway this seems like perfectly normal cat behaviour, and there is always a reason for a cat scratching or biting. I wouldn't worry, I have had many cats do this because I didn't listen to their body language close enough.
I'm also a big cat enthusiast, and I agree that this sounds like very normal cat behavior. If you pet a cat too much or in the wrong place, he will get overstimulated. Most cats will give a bit of warning, with a twitching tail. Some cats give more warning than others. My cat that I currently have is usually patient and will twitch his tail if he doesn't like something, but you'd better not pet his belly or he is likely to bite without obvious warning (the belly thing is true of most cats, by the way). Occasionally he decides he is not in the mood for petting, period, and he will bite to let you know. In those cases, it's meant to be a warning bite, so he won't break the skin and it doesn't really hurt, but I don't pull my hand back either. If I jerked my hand back, it would be likely to leave a scratch.
You have to know the individual cat to know what will bother him and how much warning you can expect before he will bite or scratch. I know what signs to look for, but even so, I have been bitten and scratched by cats and I'm sure I will be again. If bitten, don't pull your hand back until the cat lets go.
I'm sure you will be fine and not contract rabies from this incident. After all, if the cat were rabid, he should be very sick or dead by now. But in the future, if there's an animal that you'd worry about getting rabies from if you were bitten, don't pet or touch that animal. If you make a habit of petting any animal, you are likely to be bitten or scratched by it at some point. Even if the animal never means to hurt you, accidents happen and you may be scratched accidentally.