Rabies in Cats: Symptoms, Contagion and Treatments

Rabia en Gatos: Síntomas, Contagio y Tratamientos

During our lives, I imagine that we have heard or seen preventive campaigns against the disease of rabies, many of them are free because they are promoted by health organizations. Do you know why?

Rabies is a highly dangerous disease for our pet and also for us, which is why Waggy's has gathered all the information you need to know in this article. Stay reading and together let's discover what rabies is, its causes, symptoms, faces, consequences and much more. Let's get to it!

What is rabies in cats?

Feline rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects all mammals and is caused by a virus of the Rhabdoviridae family. It is a serious pathology, as it causes the death of the infected animal, affecting the central nervous system. Just as in the case of dogs, it is a disease that can be transmitted to humans or other animals such as rabbits.

Causes of rabies in cats

Rabies in cats is mainly spread through the bite of an infected animal, however, it is also possible to transmit it through:

Contact with infected saliva

Rabies can also be transmitted if saliva from an infected animal comes into contact with an open wound or mucous membranes, such as the cat's mouth, eyes, or nose. This could occur if a cat licks or comes into direct contact with the saliva of an infected animal.

Inhalation of viral particles

If a cat is in an environment with a high concentration of rabies viral particles, such as a bat cave, it could inhale the virus.

Symptoms of rabies in cats

As in many other diseases, the symptoms that our pets will present will be different since each cat is different from one another. However, there are some that are more common than others when it comes to identifying that your pet has rabies, these are:

Anomalous meows

It refers to unusual changes in the pattern, frequency, or pitch of cat meows . These may indicate discomfort, pain, hunger, loneliness, stress or illness.

Atypical behavior

Knowing what cat body language your minimo mostly uses will give you the tool to know if it presents any atypical behavior that would imply notable changes in the way a cat behaves. This may include excessive isolation, unusual aggression, changes in sleeping habits, lack of interest in games or toys, among others.


Cats can become irritable due to physical discomforts, such as pain or illness, or due to environmental stressors. They may growl, hiss, scratch, or bite unusually when irritated.

The awards with CBD for cats of Waggy's  will help reduce the  stress and anxiety in cats and to be calmer in their daily lives. To learn more about dosage, uses and benefits of CBD for pets visit our article CBD in Cats and start learning.


Excess salivation (drooling)

Excessive drooling in cats can be caused by a variety of problems, such as oral pain, dental disease, ingestion of toxic substances, or throat problems.


Fever in cats usually manifests itself as an increase in body temperature, which typically ranges between 100.5°F (38°C) and 102.5°F (39.2°C). Symptoms of fever in cats may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and increased thirst.


Weight loss and lack of appetite may be related and are common signs of illness in cats. They can be caused by various conditions, such as dental, gastrointestinal, kidney or endocrine diseases.

Weight loss and appetite

Weight loss and lack of appetite may be related and are common signs of illness in cats.


Seizures in cats are involuntary episodes of violent muscle movements and can be frightening to witness.


Paralysis involves the loss of muscle function in one or more parts of the body. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention.

How long does it take for rabies symptoms to appear?

The most common thing is for symptoms to appear within 3 to 8 weeks, but it can take up to a year. Once these signs appear, the evolution is very rapid and in less than a week, the death of the animal can occur.

How is rabies spread in cats?

Phases of rabies in cats

To understand the effects of rabies in our cat, we need to know that there are 4 phases:

Incubation phase

This phase is considered asymptomatic and varies greatly in terms of time; it can last a week or even months. The most common thing is that our feline begins to show symptoms as the disease progresses.

Prodromal phase

This is a characteristic phase because it is where changes in behavior such as fatigue, vomiting and excitability occur. Likewise, it can last between two and 10 days.

Angry or excited phase

In this phase, the cat is very irritable, with very sudden changes in behavior, and may bite and attack. It lasts between 2 and 7 days.

Paralytic phase

Generalized paralysis, spasms, coma and finally death occur.

How to cure rabies in cats? Treatment

Unfortunately, rabies does not have any treatment, which is why all health organizations and professionals place great emphasis on its prevention. This disease acts so quickly and lethally that, if your cat has been infected, the first thing your veterinarian will do is isolate it to prevent it from infecting other felines or animals and depending on the progression of the disease, euthanizing the cat is the only option. .

How to prevent rabies in cats?

The rabies vaccine is the only real prevention method for rabies. The first dose is given at three months of age and then annual boosters are given. Likewise, it is important that we know if our feline is in risk areas and at the same time, be informed of the mandatory responsibilities that our country requires of us towards our pets.

Rabies vaccine in cats, how long does it last and when is it administered?

Unlike dogs, cats do not need reinforcements regularly, however, this depends on the contact the feline has with other animals or the area in which it is located. Nowadays there are vaccines against feline rabies that last up to 4 years.

Remember that our cats have a vaccination schedule and it is necessary that we keep them up to date. Right there you can find the specific dates by which you must meet and vaccinate them.

What should I do if a rabid cat bites me?

If a rabies-infected cat bites you, you should do the following:

  • Wash the wound gently with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure with a clean towel to the injured area to stop any bleeding.
  • Apply a sterile bandage to the wound.
  • Keep the wound elevated above heart level to prevent swelling and infection.
  • Go or call your family doctor.


In conclusion, rabies in cats is a deadly and devastating disease that affects both felines and humans, its effects are highly lethal and distressing, causing a series of serious symptoms that ultimately lead to the death of the animal. In addition, it turns out to be a highly contagious disease and can be transmitted through bites or scratches from infected animals, which also represents a risk to people.

Likewise, it is essential that all cats receive the rabies vaccine, especially those that have access to the outdoors or that may come into contact with wild animals, such as bats or foxes. We must follow an appropriate vaccination schedule and keep vaccines up to date throughout your pet's life since rabies prevention not only protects cats, but also protects people who may come into contact with them. 

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