5 Simple Ways to Prevent Rabies in Cats

by Suzie Cyrenne October 26, 2022 8 min read

5 Simple Ways to Prevent Rabies in Cats

If we’re being honest, rabies in cats is a very serious health issue that always results in death. And given the fact that there is still no cure for feline rabies, it’s crucial that you know how to keep your precious pet protected from this viral disease.

This is why I put together this detailed yet simple-to-follow blog post to walk you through the essential things you need to take note of when it comes to safeguarding your cat from this life-threatening health problem.

Let’s begin our discussion by finding out what rabies in cats exactly is…

 

What is rabies in cats?

Feline rabies is a serious viral infection that attacks a cat’s central nervous system and causes significant spinal cord and brain damage.

This health issue is also technically referred to as hydrophobia because it triggers acute throat spasms that makes a cat experience a choking sensation whenever he tries to swallow water or similar liquids.

Apart from cats, rabies can also infect other warm-blooded animals such as dogs, foxes, bats, skunks, weasels, and racoons, among others. This viral infection can be transmitted to humans as well.

Moreover, cats have been reported to be the most vulnerable domestic animals to rabies in and around the United States. And there’s even a possibility that your feline family member could also be prone to this virus if you do not have the right know-how when it comes to keeping it at bay.

Now we’ve got that covered, let’s discuss how a cat gets infected with rabies…

 

How does a cat get rabies?

Rabies in cats is typically transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Biting is the most common way of passing on the infection to another cat.

Interestingly, cat rabies can also be transmitted through scratches and gashes. So long as the virus in the saliva gets in contact with a nick, cut, lesion, or mucus membranes like those found in the mouth and the corner of the eyes, infection is highly likely.

What’s really alarming about rabies in cats is that the virus continues to live on for up to two hours after being discharged by an infected animal.

This is why it’s crucial to wear protective gear such as a pair of gloves and a mask when handling dead bodies of wild critters that may have ended up in your property since they could still be harboring the virus.

Next, let’s talk about how common cat rabies is…

 

How common is rabies in cats?

While feline rabies is considered as a minimal threat, it is still quite prevalent in some areas, particularly the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that upwards of 250 cats are reported as rabid every year.

How about I walk you through the indicators of cat rabies in this part of the discussion?

 

What are the signs of rabies in a cat?

The symptoms of cat rabies are divided into three (3) distinct and contrasting stages, namely the prodromal stage, the furious stage, as well as the paralytic stage. Let’s briefly discuss each one below:

The Prodromal Stage

During the prodromal stage, you will notice a sudden change in a cat’s disposition or temperament. A reserved cat becomes more sociable and confident, while a normally outgoing cat turns shy and easily frightened.

Additionally, you may also observe a slight change in their voice due to the throat spasms that are already taking place. It is also important to remember that cat rabies is already irreversible once the prodromal stage kicks in.

The Furious Stage

Like its name implies, the furious stage is when an infected cat becomes extremely excitable and aggressive. Besides frequently drooling and vocalizing in a loud manner, a cat also tends to indiscriminately attack whatever or whoever it comes across during this stage.

The furious stage is deemed as the most dangerous of all stages of cat rabies. Foaming of the mouth can also be observed during this phase.

The Paralytic Stage

During the paralytic stage, a cat’s larynx becomes completely paralyzed and the muscles that control the movement of the nose and mouth seize up, making breathing extremely difficult. The infected cat falls into a coma and eventually dies after a few hours.

Here are a few additional notes to keep in mind as regards the symptoms of cat rabies:

The signs of rabies in cats don’t usually appear immediately. While manifestations of the virus can appear within a few days in some cases, it could take weeks, months, and even up to a year in others.

The time it takes for cat rabies symptoms to appear significantly depends on two crucial factors: first, the location of the bite, and second, the seriousness of the bite.

The closer the bite is to the spinal cord or the brain, the faster the adverse effects of cat rabies will be seen. On the other hand, severe bite wounds tend to take in more of the infected animal’s saliva and will trigger rabies in cats symptoms more rapidly.

Now let’s discuss the appearance of a cat’s eyes when he is infected with rabies…

 

What do cats' eyes look like when they have rabies?

While feline rabies doesn’t have a lot of physical indicators, especially during its earlier stages, one of the characteristics of a cat afflicted with this viral infection is that his pupils seem to be dilated all the time.

One of the effects of rabies in cats is triggering unreasonable amounts of fear and anxiety in the infected animal. In normal situations, a cat experiencing these emotions will have dilated pupils for a short time.

However, cat rabies impairs the central nervous system and will make the pupils dilate abnormally for very long periods.

For the next part of our discussion, let’s tackle something that I’ve been asked by a lot of cat parents already…

 

Can an indoor cat get rabies?

The short answer is yes.

Even if your feline family member mostly stays inside, there is still a possibility that he may be infected with rabies in cats.

It’s not uncommon that indoor cats may still be tempted to explore the outdoors and may also find creative ways to sneak outside of your home. This increases their chances of being infected with rabies, with wild critters such as weasels and racoons, among others, as the usual sources.

Now let’s talk about how long a rabid cat will live…

 

How long can a cat live if it has rabies?

To be very honest with you, determining how long a cat lives after being infected with feline rabies is extremely tricky. This is because the manifestation of the infection may take days or weeks in some animals, while it can be months and even up to a year in others.

However, the fatal effects of rabies in cats typically set in ten (10) days after the prodromal stage.

For this next part, I’ll walk you through the cat rabies prevention guidelines that you should have in your home pet care checklist…

 

No-fuss and practical ways to prevent rabies in cats

If you’re looking to keep your feline family member as safe and protected against cat rabies as possible, here are the essential things to take note of:

Establish specific territorial boundaries

Establishing boundaries is crucial to give your feline family member the notion of where he is allowed to go and where he isn’t. This is best done as early as possible, particularly among indoor cats, that tend to be rather inquisitive with their surroundings.

Besides giving your cat an idea of the parts of the house he is allowed to explore and lounge in, this also lessens the possibility of your pet trying to sneak out since he will be inclined to become territorial and protective of these spaces.

Prevent wild animals from getting in contact with your cat

As I’ve explained earlier, the risk of rabies infection usually comes from contact with outdoor wild critters like racoons and weasels. In case you’re allowing your cat to spend some time outside, make sure you keep an eye on him at all times to prevent a chance encounter with these possibly rabies-infected animals.

Since it’s not uncommon that cats can be quite territorial, your feline family member could be in on for an unexpected nip or bite when he does meet one of these critters, which could lead to rabies transmission.

Get rid of wild animal remains immediately

If you live in a wooded area or near a forested place, chances are you will stumble upon dead bodies of wild critters in your yard or patio every now and then.

It is extremely crucial that you properly get rid of these as soon as possible since there’s a possibility that they may be harboring the rabies virus—which your feline family member could be unknowingly exposed to if he comes across these remains first.

And like I pointed out earlier, keep in mind to use protective gear like a pair of gloves and a mask when doing this since rabies can live up to two hours after being discharged by the host.

Supervise socialization with other animals

Although socialization plays a key role in a cat’s mental growth and development, making it a point to know the other animals your feline family member is interacting with is a must to keep rabies at bay.

In case you see your pet mingling with a cat or dog you’re not familiar with, remember to get him as soon as possible and ask around for the other animal’s pet parents. Sure this may sound a bit drastic, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when rabies is concerned.

Regularly check your cat for any wounds, nicks, and lesions

Spend a few minutes of your time each day examining your cat for any wounds, lesions, as well as nicks and cuts that weren’t there before. Besides giving these injuries the immediate and proper care and attention needed so they won’t become infected, you can also mentally pinpoint where these may have come from while you’re at it.

And as a bonus, your beloved pet will also consider this as a bonding activity. How’s that for two for two?

 

An important tip to consider taking your home pet care checklist up a notch

 

Apart from rabies in cats, there are a number of other serious health problems that could affect your cat’s quality of life in a negative way. This is why you need to boost your feline family member’s immune system, so he won’t be an easy target for illnesses caused by fungal, bacterial, and viral infections.

Zumalka’s SILVERPET is designed to help maintain the ideal function of your pet’s body as well as strengthen his overall immune system to become more resilient against diseases. And with its gentle holistic approach and premium natural ingredients, this product is definitely a worthwhile addition to your cat pet care checklist.

 

A final reminder on rabies in cats

And that ends my blog post on the no-fuss ways on how to keep your cat safe and protected against rabies in felines. I really appreciate your taking the time to read this and I also hope you learned a lot.

Although keeping rabies in cats at bay can be a bit challenging, having the right support group to guide and help you as you go along will definitely be an advantage. This is why you should consider signing up for our FREE HEALTH ADVISOR GUIDANCE.

Besides providing useful and practical tips on how to maximize the benefits and wonders of homeopathic medicine to keep your cat protected from illnesses, our Natural Health Advisors will also guide you on the products and treatment options that best fit your animal's health needs.

Naturally with you and your pet, every step of the way!

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne

HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA

Suzie Cyrenne co-founded Zumalka over five years ago, and has worked in naturopathic pet medicine for more than six. Day-to-day, she works as the lead manager for the Zumalka staff and specializes in training the team to have thorough knowledge of pet health and the company’s extensive line of naturopathic remedies.

Suzie has gained a lot of experience from years spent in the pet health field and she earned her degree in Homeopathy at the School of Classical Homeopathy in Quebec, Canada, (a partner of the European Academy of Natural Medicine (AEMN) in France).

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