This past weekend a barn kitten born in Larimer County, CO, was found to have rabies. The deadly disease, which can spread between species and attack dogs, cats, and humans, has to be treated early to ensure recovery. Eight people are being treated, after having been bitten or scratched while handling the kitten, which is the first cat that the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has found with rabies since 1968.
Rabies is a serious concern for pets, and most states require rabies vaccinations for kittens and puppies. But the stray cat population, of course, goes unvaccinated, leading to litters that are susceptible to rabies.
The kitten was taken in by a family who says that the first sign that something was wrong was the cat “acting strangely.” A veterinarian examined the kitten for neurological problems, and the cat was diagnosed with rabies. Unfortunately, the animal was euthanized as a result.
A Reminder to Vaccinate, and to Spay or Neuter
This sad event serves as a reminder of the importance of vaccinations, and also of the importance of spaying and neutering pets, to prevent any increase in the population of stray cats.
While rabies is serious and deadly when transmitted, cases in the US have dropped dramatically in the past decades, mostly due to vaccination. According to the CDC, before 1960, most cases were in domestic animals; today, usually only wild carnivores and bats are found with the disease.