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How to tell if a Cat Has Rabies: Prevent It From Happening Now!

Published by Annie Anderson
Last updated: January 24, 2024

Cats make very interesting pets and they are one of the furriest (and cutest!) animals to cuddle with, but there are some things you’ll need to take care of! They have sicknesses that we must watch out for. Just like dogs, cats are susceptible to rabies, which can cause death to your furry animal.

Not only that, but they may infect you as well, causing dire consequences when not treated as soon as possible. It’s best to know how to tell if cat has rabies as soon as possible to avoid any trouble. But how will you be able to do so?

Read on as we show you how to tell if a cat has rabies.

What is Rabies?

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Rabies is a disease that affects an animal’s central nervous system. It comes after being bitten from a diseased carrier, may it be bats, raccoons, skunks, or other cats and dogs. This is through the saliva’s infected particles, which are then spread to the bloodstream of the bitten animal.

When the virus enters the body, it will replicate muscle cells and spread it to the nervous system, which is the brain. It then affects peripheral, sensory and motor nerves, which would end up with the infected acting abnormally, either furious or paralyzed.

The symptoms are paralysis, excessive and frothy saliva, shyness or aggression, fever, sizers, hydrophobia, an inability to swallow, or a dropped jaw.

The symptoms would progress around one to three months, but can ALSO begin after a day to a year. Either way, when the symptoms start to show, it will progress quickly.

While you will still be able to treat it after being bitten by the animal, the chances of survival after the symptoms show is poor.

If you are unsure whether the behavior that your cat is displaying is actually “cat head pressing,” there are a few questions to ask yourself.

How to Tell If a Cat Has Rabies

Via WikiHow There are no direct tests when knowing if your cat suffers from rabies. You can only tell by the symptoms your cat has, or if you know he was bitten by an animal. Here are the specific ways on how to tell if a cat has rabies​:

1. Check for Symptoms

Usually, the symptoms for rabies would appear within a week or two. But during the early stages, your cat may show some other symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Chills or Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fear of bright lights or water
  • Loss of appetite and cannot swallow
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

2. Check for Wounds

If your cat is experiencing any of those symptoms, then check for wounds or any signs of a fight. He may have come into contact with a rabid animal.

Check to see if your cat has bite marks or scratches. Before you check around his fur, make sure you are wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved tops and gloves to AVOID getting contact into rabies from your cat’s skin (the virus can stay for up to two hours on your cat’s fur and skin).

Check for any bite marks, scabs, scratches, or any dried fur and saliva.

Look Out for the Later Stage of Rabies

Via WikiHow ​Like mentioned, there are two types of rabies. After a few days of contracting rabies, your cat may suffer from one of them. Here are the symptoms of the two different types of rabies:

1. Paralytic “Dumb” Rabies

This is called dumb rabies as the cat suffers from confusion and sicknesses. He may not be able to move, so they are not vicious and won’t bite. He may suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Paralysis
  • Dropping jaw
  • Foamy or excess salivation
  • Hard to swallow

2. Furious Rabies

This is a more aggressive and dangerous type, where your cat may start showing abnormal behavior and start salivating with foam. This is less common, but you should take action immediately. Call animal control to capture your cat and euthanize him.

Symptoms include:

  • Foamy salivation
  • Afraid of water
  • Anger and restlessness
  • Attacking in the form of scratching or biting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal behavior

Tips to Treat Rabies for Humans and Cats

Like mentioned, you won’t be able to properly treat rabies after the symptoms start to show. That is why it’s very important to make sure that you take the proper action once you find out your cat has been bitten or scratched by an unknown animal.

What you should do once you detect a bite would be to stop the bleeding and clean the wound with soap and water. After cleaning the wound, make sure to seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY. Take your cat to a vet for them to give your cat a booster shot, if he has been vaccinated against rabies already. Your cat will be kept in quarantine for about 45 days, not making contact with anyone.

If ever your cat has not been vaccinated and was already bitten by a rabid animal, then he will need to be put down.

You also have a choice whether or not you’d like the cat put into quarantine and observed for six months. The quarantine will be in the veterinary’s clinic and paid for by the owner. If he is alive after the quarantine period, then he is free to go after getting a vaccine against rabies.

If ever you or a loved one was bitten by a rabid cat, then seek help immediately. You will be given antibiotics and shots to prevent the virus from spreading. It’s best to make sure that you seek medical attention as soon as possible the moment you get bitten.

How to Prevent Rabies for Cats

In order for your cat to not get rabies, then you will need to make sure you follow these steps:

Make sure that your cat is vaccinated regularly. Some may require your cat to be vaccinated yearly or every two to three years. Contact your veterinarian for the prices and when you can have your cat vaccinated immediately.

Keep your cat indoors or AWAY from any open areas where rabid animals may come in contact. As much as possible keep him inside or watch over him.

Place fences and other barricades around your home to prevent rabid animals from coming in.

You can build a fence around your yard, or make sure that your garbage cans are closed tightly. Prune trees and remove all possible hiding spots that small animals can hide in.

In Conclusion

Rabies is not a joke. It’s a very serious illness that takes lives of both humans and animals. That’s why it’s best to know how to tell if a cat has rabies to take further action, before it’s too late.

Hopefully, this article helped you become more knowledgeable on how to tell if a cat has rabies. Instead of waiting for the worst to happen, take the safety precautions and avoid stray cats and keep your pet cat safe at all costs.

Ever wondered … how many teeth do cats have? Read our guide

We hope you found this article informative. If you have any more questions or tips on how to tell if a cat has rabies, then do comment down below. We’d love to hear what you have to think.​

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