Most have heard about the rabies virus, which can affect almost any animal through a bite from an infected animal. Rabies
may affect species differently. Rabies typically affects wild animals, but your outdoor cats can get it too. Luckily, it no longer poses a great risk to humans. Around the turn of the 20th century, about 100 people per year would die
of the virus, but as recently as the 1990s, reports show just one or two people per year with symptoms of the virus. Cats, however, may be a different story.
How Does the Rabies Virus Affect Cats
Rabies is a tricky virus. In some cats, symptoms can take as long as a year
to appear. Once the symptoms do appear, the disease is almost always fatal. As it affects the central nervous system primarily, the most noticeable symptom may be a significant change in your cat's demeanor. Your sweet kitty may turn into a growling and frightened cat, or even an aggressive meanie. They may also suffer paralysis, seizures, appear to be disoriented. Unfortunately, a post-mortem exam is the only way to confirm a rabies diagnosis.
Cat Rabies is Easily Preventable
Luckily for us, our human scientists have made it so easy to prevent a case of rabies, even in the wiliest and scrappiest outdoor cats. Many US states and localities require pets to have the rabies vaccine
. It is an easy decision to get the vaccine for your cat. It will keep them alive if they get a bite from an infected animal, so it is worth it. The rabies vaccine also helps to protect your cat if it bites someone. In some areas, local ordinances
demand that cats who bite and do not have the rabies vaccine get put down. So, getting your cat vaccinated protects your cat in a myriad of ways.
Experts also recommend keeping cats indoors to minimize the risk of exposure, even if they are vaccinated.
What To Do if Your Cat Gets Bitten
Even if your cat has the rabies vaccine and is in accordance with local laws, there is still a protocol to follow if your cat gets bit by a wild animal. You will want to put on gloves to handle your cat. In rare cases, rabies can be transmitted through saliva, so this is an extra precaution because you never know when you have a perfectly placed paper cut! Take your cat to the vet to get checked out, and make sure the vet gives your fur baby a rabies booster
shot just in case.
Can Humans Get Cat Rabies?
Yes, the rabies virus does not discriminate and it is transferable between species. If an animal, domestic or wild (but particularly the latter!), bites you, go to the doctor immediately. They will give you a series of human rabies vaccinations
over the course of two weeks. This easy to follow protocol stops the virus from becoming active.
Rabies is a good reason to never approach wild animals, especially ones that are not quite acting right. If you see one that seems ill, call your local animal control and let the experts take care of the issue, keeping you and your cat safe and sound.
Do you have a cat rabies story to share with a happy ending? Tell everyone in the comments below!
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