Feral Cat Veterinary Resource Center
Rabies: A Public Health Victory
Rabies is not a health risk posed by feral cat colonies, but it sometimes comes up when discussing outdoor cats with community members or policymakers who don’t realize that feral cats are healthy and their home is outdoors. Rabies is often misguidedly used to justify catch and kill plans to remove cats from certain areas, when in fact, feral cats are not a reservoir for rabies, and the virus itself is not nearly the threat it once was.
Despite the hyped-up media attention rabies receives, rabies control efforts are actually a public health victory—there were only 29 confirmed cases of rabies in humans in America from 2001-2011. None of those cases were known to have come from cats. Billed as a “killer disease,” rabies cases in humans are highly uncommon and also highly preventable. To put things in perspective: in that same time period, there were 30,619 cases of West Nile virus in humans in this country, and 1,211 people died of it.
Alley Cat Allies has the facts on rabies to shatter the myths about the disease—so that you fully understand and can inform others. Armed with this information, you can spread the word that feral cats do not pose a public health risk.
Here you’ll find a full-range of information and facts about the rabies virus: its low prevalence in feral cats, how Trap-Neuter-Return programs help, how long rabies vaccines last and how they can negatively affect cats’ health, the history of rabies in the United States, and proven effective programs which target the true sources of rabies: wildlife.