Rabies in Cats Treatment Options

Rabies in cats is entirely preventable. Have your cat vaccinated against rabies and get boosters as required. Most rabies boosters are given every one or three years depending on the vaccination used by your veterinarian. Rabies vaccine is the only way to ensure your cat will not die from rabies because the rabies virus is fatal.

It's generally best to have your cat vaccinated against rabies at three months. That initial rabies vaccination is valid for a year. After that, there is a three-year rabies booster available. Check current rabies vaccination laws with your state. Laws frequently change. Some states are now switching to the three-year rabies vaccination schedules, but others still want rabies vaccine boosters yearly.

There Is No Cure or Treatment for Rabies in Cats

Rabies has no cure. If your unvaccinated cat contracts the disease, he will die. It's better to have your pet euthanized than to make him suffer through the three stages of the disease. Have your pet vaccinated and make sure all boosters are up to date to prevent the disease. Keep your pet indoors where the chances of exposure to a rabies-positive wild animal is reduced.

How Rabies in Cats Is Contracted

If your cat is not vaccinated, should an infected animal bites or scratches your cat, rabies is a serious possibility. While it's less common for rabies to spread that way, if the infected animal had been licking or biting its nails, there is the chance saliva could enter the scratch.

Common carriers of rabies include bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks. Raccoons are the most common carrier and bats are second. Even indoor cats can be at risk if an infected bat or raccoon makes its way into your home, either through an open window, door or even chimney.

Stages of Rabies in Cats

The first stage of rabies occurs for a couple days and usually begins four to six weeks after being bitten. The animal goes through a series of behavioral changes, usually becoming shy and nervous. A fever usually sets in. In the second stage, cats become moody and restless. Disorientation sets in.

During the third, final stage, usually within a week after initial signs. The cat often drools excessively and breathing patterns change. Throat muscles weaken making it hard for the cat to swallow. The cat will gradually go into respiratory failure and succumb to the rabies virus.

What Happens if Your Cat Is Bitten or Scratched

Unless someone safely captures the animal that bit or scratched your cat, it's unlikely you'll know if the attacking animal had rabies. Most authorities feel it is safer to have your unvaccinated cat euthanized before the virus advances.

If you are adamantly against euthanization, your cat will have to remain quarantined and monitored for signs of rabies in cats, usually for six months. You'll be required to pay for the quarantine. If no signs appear after six months, your pet will be vaccinated and then released a month later. Vaccinated pets are quarantined for up to two months as a precaution.