Bobcat Fever

Bobcat fever can kill domestic cats that are let out of the house in certain states of the United States.

It is caused by a parasite (Cytauxzoon felis) that lives in the blood and which is transmitted from the American bobcat to the domestic cat by the tick.

Tick parasite

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A tick is another parasite that attaches itself onto the bodies of animals including cats and which gorges on the blood of the animal.

The tick eventually drops off the wild bobcat and is the picked up the domestic cat if and when it ventures outside.

Bobcat fever is present in these states (this may not be a complete list):

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Missouri
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky

A news item as at June 8th 2011 reports on an outbreak at Crittenden County, Kentucky.

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The say you have to keep your cats in to avoid bobcat fever. The symptoms occur within six days and include the usual suspects:

  • depression
  • lethargy
  • anorexia (lack of appetite)
  • dehydration
  • fever (cat crys)
  • loss of liver function
  • bleeding of the spleen

There is apparently a 95% fatality rate and death can be very rapid. Faith Hughes has successfully treated the disease. She works at the VCA Wakulla Animal Hospital.

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3 thoughts on “Bobcat Fever”

  1. I’ve never heard of this before now and have never encountered it. I had no idea that it was indigenous to bobcats that I love so much.
    What happens if the tick that falls off the bobcat and is picked up by a cat is, subsequently, attached to a human?
    I had ticks many times as a kid.

  2. My cat had this before we knew what it was called and we were lucky enough to have a vet “fresh” out of school who knew about this. The cat was still a kitten when everything turned yellow, eyes, throw-up, was lethargic and we almost lost him. We are here in East Tennessee! He was put on IV’s and meds for a week in the vet hospital, locally. But he survived this scary disease because there are apparently 2 kinds, one gets in the blood immediately, and the other, if caught in time, can be beaten.


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