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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A rabid cat was found! Hide your cats, the witch hunt is on!

A woman and her friend were jogging somewhere in Manhattan, NY, and a cat jumped on one of their backs. This cat attacked 4 people in all and 1 dog. Animal control was able to catch it and kill it. They are trying to notify one of the people attacked because she needs treatment within 10 days or she could die. Read more about the story here.

Maybe I am just paranoid because I feed outdoor cats (and have to hide it!) but I feel a witch hunt coming on! One rabid cat in a city of millions of stray cats and now all of these so-called "educated" officials will call for all the heads of the strays. I tried to find the incidence rate of rabies but I am finding all kinds of "rates" depending on how the person who wrote the findings wants to sway it. (Why can't we just have the
facts!?) Someone who loves birds (and thinks that cats are responsible for the bird decline instead of human destruction *sigh*) will say that there is a high incidence of rabies so allferal/stray cats should be killed. Someone who feeds ferals might say that there is a low incidence. I don't think there are any accurate findings that we can really rely on.

I have personally known of hundreds of stray or feral cats that come into the shelter and none of them have had rabies. That's not much but it at least tells me that it is not common-in my area anyway. For comparison, the incidence of FIV is anywhere from 1-3%, depending on who is telling you the stats. We have had quite a few FIV+ cats come through the shelter. We have 5 at the shelter right now! So, I have to assume that the rabies risk is pretty low, since we have had NO cats with rabies. We do NOT kill cats with FIV because they can live a very normal life with no problems. Click here to read about FIV.

This is why Trap Neuter Release (
TNR) is so important. If you trap or catch a free roaming or feral cat they are vaccinated against rabies when they are fixed! So, when they go back outside, they are not vulnerable to the disease if they happen to get into a squabble with a wild animal.

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