07-02-2017, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Sorry to disagree, but rabies can easily be contracted from a scratch from a rabid animal... many animals groom their feet, and cats certainly do, and a scratch from a rabid cat is certainly Very likely going to spread rabies. However, saying that, rabies is pretty rare in cats (it occurs, but the cases per year in the US can usually be counted on one hand). This is a good thing as I cannot even count all the times I have been bitten or scratched by cats over the years (part of my job)..many many hundreds of times, and often from feral cats. A few times some of the cats have been suspect and were euthanized, head sent in the county and brain examined for rabies, but so far, I have not personally seen a single cat with rabies in practice (over 30 years).
Also, rabid animals are not necessarily more prone to attack, scratch or bite... they are simply confused and neurologic, though some can exhibit a 'rage' personality that goes along with the neurologic damage.
Main signs of rabies in most animals is just abnormal behavior. In some animals, it is being overly depressed. In some, wobbly and disoriented. In some, out and about in the day when normally they are only active at night (particularly the case with bats, skunks and raccoons), and, with cattle, trouble eating and more anxious than normal (never heard of an 'attack cow' with rabies). As neurological problems worsen, some lose the ability to swallow- hence excessive drooling and sometimes a last minute, learned 'fear of water' (famous symptom, but pretty rare actually) due to the trouble they have swallowing it. The disorientation can lead to anxiety, or sometimes a total lack of any anxiety or fear as they get more and more confused. So a skunk may just walk right up to you when normally they should be very afraid. Same for dogs, cats, raccoons and even bats. Most rabid bats eventually lose the ability to fly and that's when most people get exposed to rabies, trying to pick these poor 'injured' creatures up with their bare hands.
My only exposure to rabies was actually from handing a deceased cow (cause of death unknown initially) and I only had contact with the coat. However, cows, like cats, can groom themselves, so all of us handling the cow in any way had to receive rabies vaccinations (boosters for most of us as we had been all vaccinated already). Cows get rabies WAY more often than do cats, by the way (get fed on at night by vampire bats... of all mammals in the US, rabies is MOST common in bats).
By the way, it is also not unusual for a cat to attack a dog if they feel threatened... certainly does NOT mean they have rabies... just that they are exceptionally aggressive or anxious cats (sadly not very rare) and probably feel like they are protecting themselves.