How Can You Tell If a Feral Cat Might Have Rabies?


Quick Answer

Aggression, excessive salivation, widely dilated pupils and a lack of fear of people are signs a feral cat may have rabies, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Other symptoms of rabies in cats include paralysis, disorientation, seizures and weakness, adds WebMD.

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Full Answer

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the brain, explains WebMD. A cat can contract rabies from the bite of an infected animal or if the saliva of an infected animal enters the cat's body through an open wound or mucous membrane. Wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes may bite a cat and infect it with rabies. Regular administration of the rabies vaccine prevents cats from developing the disease, notes VCA Animal Hospitals.

Symptoms of rabies do not develop immediately following exposure, says WebMD. Months can pass before symptoms appear. The disease is almost always fatal once symptoms become apparent.

A cat suspected of having rabies must remain in quarantine for 10 days, states petMD. A cat infected with rabies dies within seven to 10 days of the onset of symptoms. Depending on local or state regulations, an unvaccinated cat bitten by or exposed to a rabid animal must remain in quarantine for as long as six months. A vaccinated cat that scratches or bites a human must remain in quarantine or undergo monitoring for 10 days.

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