Categories: rabies

Reports of rabid cats in America are inflated because of a dislike of feral cats

Rabid cat perhaps. I don’t know the source of this picture. Sorry.

This is a discussion article on America’s rabid cats. Some facts are clear from the data presented online while other facts are not. However, I noticed, while surfing the Internet this morning, that in India dogs cause the highest number of human rabies deaths at 97% followed by cats at 2% (newindianexpress.com). There is a huge disparity between these figures. As is clear, dogs are by far the biggest danger to humans in respect of getting rabies in India.

If we then jump to America and read the CDC.gov website we notice that each year, in America, “around 60 to 70 dogs and more than 250 cats are reported rabid”.

The important word is “reported”. As I understand this, people are reporting what they believe to be rabid cats. They don’t know that the cats are rabid. They just think they are. Sometimes, for example, a person might approach a domestic cat and that cat is fearful for whatever reason. The cat attacks the person in an unprovoked manner which is very rare but it can happen. The person decides that the cat is rabid because their behaviour is unusually aggressive. The person doesn’t understand why and therefore deems the cat to be affected by the rabies virus and calls the authorities.

Sometimes these cats are trapped, killed and their brains inspected for the virus. People like myself, rarely receive reports online about rabid cats beyond the stories in the news media. The public rarely receives further information by which I mean whether the test on the cat proved positive for rabies or not.

The point that I’m making is that the reported number of cats infected with rabies might not and probably does not match up to the confirmed results. And the information I refer to coming out of India supports this argument.

In addition, the information provided by CDC about actual rabies cases in humans in the United States and Puerto Rico from January 2008 to September 2017 confirms this. There is not one bite or contact with a cat amongst the animals that transmitted rabies to these unfortunate people. They list dogs and bats, a raccoon, and a fox but there’s no cat in their list.

My argument is that people are reporting what they believe to be rabid cats when they are not rabid because of a dislike of feral cats. It’s a bias within the reporting system which I believe needs to be highlighted.

Quite often, in online news media, reporters are too eager to create sensationalist headlines about “rabid cat attacks individual” and that sort of stuff. You don’t see stories about rabid bats attacking people. It is nearly always domestic or feral cats.

Note: of the 23 cats of rabies in the USA in the past decade, 8 were contracted abroad and the person returned to the USA already infected.

P.S. In a timely manner there is a report of a rabid cat from Fresno, California. The cat tested positive. It is nice to see the test result reported. Health officials say that it is the first confirmed feline rabies case since 1943.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • (sigh) KT (aka Woodrow the cat-hater/killer) is at it again I see. I wonder if there's ANYthing good about the guy. Anyway, two things. 1: the photo of the cat with the foaming mouth. People mildly familiar with them knows that cats can foam due to having tasted any number of things they don't agree with, like citrus, medicine or just from having a topical flea treatment applied behind the neck. 2: Otherwise decent, caring professionals can jump to hasty suspicions and fears when scratched by a cat not their own. I've had two stray cats who were needlessly killed by veterinarians because they were too careful and didn't care. I've also spoken to dozens of vets (including these two) over 24 years about cats having rabies (including these two)... none said they'd ever run across a case. And yeah, reporters eager to publish sensational stories will jump to conclusions or print suggestive stories based on just the possibility, nothing else. The difference between possible and probable is lost on some people.

  • "Reported" as defined by the legal community, the medical community, and the CDC is that that many cats that attacked people had been tested for rabies and were found 100% positive for rabies. This doesn't count all the thousands of cats every year that are rabid and go unreported. Nor does this count the thousands of cat attacks that happen each year where the cat cannot be found again to be tested and LEGALLY REPORTED but the human has to get their $10,000 rabies shots anyway. Better to be safe than dead from cat transmitted rabies. Considering that everyone has 4X's more risk from cat-attack transmitted rabies than from stray dogs in the USA.

    Nice to see that your perpetual disinformation campaign in favor of cat lives over human lives (and all other animal life on earth) still finds no end in sight. What's the matter? Did all humans in your life reject you all your life? That would be my guess why you spew your biased lies so much and so often.

    You're just a wildlife hater and human hater and will never be anything more than that. You don't even really care about cats' lives. You just use them for a source of income for yourself. You'd rather cats were ran over by cars, poisoned, or shot to death rather than kept safely on ones own property. Your true face is showing--always.

    • Your comment proves exactly what I am saying in the article! It is perfect and for good measure you have gratuitously attacked me as well. Brilliant. Thanks KT. How many cats have you killed this year?

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