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Animal Control Reports Rabid Cat Case

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Sonora, CA – A domestic cat that apparently contracted rabies while missing has become the subject of a cautionary tale.

Tuolumne County Animal Control officials share that the feline, which tested positive for rabies, had been away from its owner’s residence for several weeks when it reappeared, acting disoriented.

After the cat’s health continued to decline over several days and it became paralytic, the owner contacted the Animal Control Office and the decision was made to humanely euthanize it. Two separate government labs subsequently confirmed a rabies diagnosis.

Local officials say the cat was not current on its rabies shots and that the unfortunate incident illustrates why all domestic pet owners should ensure their animals are regularly vaccinated to protect them from the deadly viral disease. They add that no other animals or humans were exposed to the cat.

Rabies, which severely affects the central nervous system, is generally a disease that affects wild mammals, but it can be passed to humans through an animal’s saliva via touching it on the fur or from a bite. Once an infected person develops rabies symptoms there is no effective treatment to prevent the virus from becoming fatal.

For these reasons, animal bites are required by law to be immediately reported to local Animal Control officials at which time public health personnel will provide timely recommendations on rabies treatment.

The Animal Control Office should also be notified whenever a domestic animal has contact with wildlife. Best practices are for humans and animals to avoid such contact. If a bite occurs, thoroughly wash the area with soap and water and get immediate medical attention.

In California, all dogs are required to remain up-to-date on their rabies shots. Additionally, Tuolumne County requires them to be licensed.

Licenses are available at the county shelter weekdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and at summer rabies vaccination clinics, which provide low-cost shots. Dates for the 2020 clinics will be available shortly online here.