Infographic on rabies in domestic cats (USA)

About domestic cats and rabies

About domestic cats and rabies. Prepared by MikeB. Click it for a larger image.

The thing that I particularly don’t like about rabies in the USA in the domestic cat is that if a domestic cat for whatever reason bites a person including their owner, they might assume that the cat has caught rabies because it is out of character. They might contact a veterinarian. That would be the death knell for a domestic cat because in the interests of public safety, the veterinarian would have to euthanise the cat and then dissect the brain to see if the virus is present in the brain.

So an innocent bite by a domestic cat for whatever reason and sometimes due to provocation and therefore a defensive measure can lead to that cat’s death. And it may occur because the person involved is trying to do the right thing and is concerned or even frightened. This is the major thing which concerns me. No doubt, most people do not make an assumption that the cat has rabies otherwise there’d be far more reports.

However, the CDC states: “The percentage of cats tested for rabies that were positive (1.1%) was similar to that of the previous 5 years.”

So about 100 cats reported as possibly having rabies actually have it. This would point to a particularly cautious approach which is understandable of indoor/outdoor cats contracting rabies because they make contact with a wild animal outside.

Clearly, in some countries there is a real possibility of a domestic cat being bitten by a wild animal and thereby contracting rabies. In other countries such as the UK, this is not going to happen because rabies is no longer in the UK. That’s why indoor cats are more sensible in the USA compared to the UK.


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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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