Living with cats

How to Tell if My Cat has Rabies

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: June 5, 2018
How to Tell if My Cat has Rabies

Although rabies is usually associated with dogs, this viral disease can be contracted by any mammal, including cats and is very dangerous to our pet and ourselves, because it can be transmitted from animal to human. Detecting early symptoms of rabies in the cat is essential to ensure the health of the family and other animals in the home, thus avoid contagion. Therefore, on we explain how to tell if your cat has rabies.

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Steps to follow:


Rabies is a virus that directly affects the nervous system of the animal, so behavioural changes in cats are typical of this disease. Depending on the age of the cat and the place where the infected animal bit your cat, symptoms can appear between four and six weeks later.


Once symptoms appear, rabies is present in three stages, the first stage that can last a couple of days, the cat may show some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Major changes in temperament and behaviour: anxiety, aggressiveness, restlessness. The most aggressive cats may suddenly become docile and the completely docile cats become wild
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in the sound of meowing and excessive vocalizations
  • Aggressive look
  • Loss of appetite and depression

The second stage of this disease is known as the furious phase, during this phase the rabid cat may have these symptoms:

  • Walking and running aimlessly and compulsively
  • Itching in the body that leads to biting
  • The aggressiveness of the previous stage continues
  • Lack of coordination and seizures

In the last stage, the rabid cat may present:

  • Foaming snout
  • Paralysis
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Suffocation and death

Rabies is a deadly disease for cats and to any mammal, so once it contracts rabies, it will be difficult to save the animal, but it is essential to isolate it from other animals and people living at home, as it could transmit this disease to any human or pet.

The only way to prevent rabies and other diseases is by vaccinating the cat at six months of age against this virus. Additionally an annual booster of this vaccine should be applied to ensure their health.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if My Cat has Rabies, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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1 comment
Tom Severson
Need to mention typical duration range of disease from exposure to termination. If human is bitten, how long until treatment needs to begin if cat can and cannot be secured for evaluation.
OneHowTo Editor
It will depend on many factors including whether the person has a vaccine, where the bite site is, how much virus has entered the blood stream and more. Going to the doctor immediately in any case is vital.
How to Tell if My Cat has Rabies