RABIES? REALLY? BUT I’M AN INDOOR CAT!

Hello! Nigel, here. The doctors at For Cats Only have brought to my attention a disturbing trend amongst cat guardians. It seems that more and more of you are refusing to vaccinate your cat overlords for rabies. What are you doing? Don’t you realize the gravity of your decision? Perhaps, not. That is why I, Nigel, am here to educate you. It is very, very important that you listen carefully to what I have to say.

The simplest reason for why you must vaccinate your cat for rabies, is that it is the LAW. That’s right, it is mandated by law in the state of Florida for all cats, dogs and ferrets over the age of 4 months. Now, this may not be an answer that you feel holds any water for you. For all I know, you are some depraved hooligan who breaks the law every chance that he gets! Well then…we will shall just get on with the other myriad of reasons why it is an absolute necessity for your kitty to be vaccinated.

Rabies is FATAL. 100% fatal. Any person or mammal that is exposed to rabies has a pretty high chance of meeting their end. This is why it is so important that we protect ourselves against this disease. Rabid animals don’t behave like normal animals. They can be overly aggressive, but they can also appear to be overly social. People find themselves enamored with a raccoon that wants their attention, only to get bitten or scratched and end up with rabies.

Now….again, you say “Nigel…but my cat doesn’t go outside. And I’m not dumb enough to consort with socially delusional raccoons!”. That may be true…but sometimes these animals do make it into our homes. There have been several reported cases of rabid bats and raccoons getting into people’s houses or apartments. Don’t you think your kitty would enjoy chasing after a bat that was flopping around wildly inside the house? There is also the all too common, “Well, my cat is indoor only…except for when he gets out.” Right. Cats sometimes get out. And if they do, they can be exposed to a rabid animal.

If your poor kitty was not vaccinated for rabies and did come in contact with a wild animal, the state in many cases will recommend that your pet be euthanized (pssst…that’s code for ‘going to live on farm in Georgia’). If the cat owner did not agree to this recommendation, the county can require a strict, 6-month quarantine at an approved facility (usually a vet hospital or county shelter) at the owner’s expense. Do you now ho much it would cost to board your cat for 6 months??? A ton more than a rabies vaccination!

There are also consequences if your kitty were to bite someone. I know…it’s hard to imagine your sweet little snookums chomping down on one of your friends (or enemies), but things happen. Cats can become frightened when at the animal hospital and bite one of the staff. When strangers come to their home, some cats get scared and may bite out of fear or confusion. Now..if this should happen and your cat was properly vaccinated, the worst repercussion would usually be a 10 day quarantine in the comfort of your own home. However, if you could not show proof of rabies vaccination for your cat, the county could fine you, recommend euthanasia (see above) and rabies testing, or a period of quarantine for the cat at an approved facility.

And finally, although there are post-exposure injections that can be given to a person who may have been exposed to rabies to save them from their fatal end, there are no such injections for cats. If your cat is bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, he will most definitely die. The end.

So really. Don’t you think the answer is quite obvious? Your cat should be vaccinated for rabies! Because it’s the law, because it’s the right thing to do for your cat’s protection, your family’s protection and the protection of everyone around you.

If you know that your cat is past due for her rabies vaccination, please call the staff at For Cats Only. They will get you set up with an appointment with one of the doctors to make sure your kitty gets the protection she needs. That’s all for now! This is Nigel, signing off! Meow.

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