Do Feral Cats Have Rabies?

feral cat outside

Not all feral cats have rabies

The thought of coming in contact with a rabid animal is terrifying to most people, and for good reason. Rabies is incredibly dangerous and can cause major health problems.

But perhaps you’re wondering as you’re looking to put up a shelter for them to be safe at night?

Even when diagnosed right away, people who get bitten or scratched by a rabid animal have to undergo painful and extensive treatment to ensure that they are not in danger.

Many people believe that feral cats have rabies.

Because of that, many are unkind to them and try to avoid contact with them. Luckily, this isn’t always the case.

How a Cat Can Get Infected

Any animal can contract rabies through a bite from an infected animal.

Wild animals are most likely to carry rabies, this means that any animal that comes in contact with them is at risk. Outbreaks do occur, but health officials move to handle these outbreaks.

This helps to protect the general public and prevent an uncontrolled spread of this disease.

“Rabies is NOT transmitted through the blood, urine, or feces of an infected animal, nor is it spread airborne through the open environment.”

Signs of Infections

feral cat with a bite wound on its ear

Bite wounds are a sign of potential infection

Understanding the signs of a rabies infection is key and will help you protect yourself if you encounter an infected animal.

Symptoms can vary, but there are a few classic signs to look out for.

The most common ones include aggression, loss of appetite, disorientation, seizures, and paralysis. Sudden death is a sign, as well.

Also, you should be on the lookout for any type of wound that could’ve occurred through fighting (such as a bitten ear).

Cats at Higher Risk of Infection

Unfortunately, cats that are allowed to roam free, such as feral cats, are at a higher risk for developing rabies.

They can easily become infected after a fight with an infected animal.

However, widespread vaccination programs are a great way to battle this problem and take care of even feral animals.

The Truth About Rabies in Cats

tom cat with rabies

It’s rare for a feral cat to have rabies

While it’s important to know the facts about rabies, most people are surprised to know that feral cats are generally healthy and are not the animals spreading this disease.

In fact, they are usually just as healthy as pet cats, although they often get a bad reputation for spreading disease.

Cats have instincts that guide them to stay away from animals that are sick.

Since these animals are defensive, and not offensive, they will try to do anything they can to prevent running into other animals, especially wild ones that may attack. The animals that they hunt for food rarely have rabies.

Since feral cats aren’t socialized to come up to and spend time around people, they are not very likely to spread diseases to humans.

They are much happier being by themselves and will try to avoid contact with people as much as possible. This means that people aren’t at risk for feral cats the way that many of them assume they are.

By taking time to understand rabies, how to identify it, and to learn that feral cats are not the real danger, people can better advocate for these animals.

Feral cats are often pointed at as the cause of rabies, but this isn’t true in most cases. Knowing this gives people comfort when dealing with feral cats.