People don't normally associate cats with having rabies. But according to WebMD, cited below, "Rabies affects more cats than dogs in the United States."
What is rabies?
WebMD explains that rabies is a virus initiated by a bite. It then spreads by saliva from one animal to another animal - or a human. The virus "starts at the location of the bite and moves through the body along the nerves until it reaches the brain. Once rabies reaches the brain, the infected animal will begin showing symptoms and usually die within seven days."
Many people make the mistake of thinking their indoor cat can't get rabies. But PetMD, cited below, notes, "Even if you have an indoor cat, they are still at risk for rabies because infected animals such as mice can enter your home and spread the condition to your cat." Suppose your cat is bitten by another animal, inside or outside your home. In that case, it's best to visit your veterinarian to ensure he hasn't been exposed to the virus, "even if vaccinated."
What are the symptoms in cats?
If your cat is bitten by an animal with the rabies virus, you may not notice anything during the "incubation period." That time can range from a few days to a few weeks. After that phase, you may first note a difference in his personality. A shy cat may become clingy. An affectionate feline may become aggressive. If your cat exhibits any such changes, get to the vet immediately. She may give your cat a booster rabies vaccination and tell you to watch your cat for a few weeks to see if he develops any other symptoms, including drooling. Depending on laws in your area, you or your vet may need to report the situation to your county health department.
How to protect against rabies
An annual rabies vaccination is the best way to protect your kitty from this fatal virus. Unbelievably, despite there being no treatment for the virus after symptoms appear, not all states require the rabies vaccine. You will need to check with your local municipality for more specific information. The rabies vaccination is a no-brainer for pet lovers, but not all cats have received it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cited below, indicate that "more than 250 cats in the United States are infected with rabies yearly."
Protect your feline- and yourself - and have all cats and dogs in your care vaccinated for rabies. WebMD says, "If you think that you have been exposed to rabies, call your doctor immediately. You may need a series of rabies vaccines to prevent the infection from progressing."
Quote to remember: "If cats could write history, their history would be mostly about cats." - Eugen Weber
"Rabies in Cats"
"Rabies in cats"
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)