After a second cat tested positive for rabies in North Miami Beach this past fall, Florida’s Department of Health issued a rabies alert. The disease had been found in an unvaccinated stray, and at least one person in the area received rabies treatment; a second person was scratched by the cat and was being examined.
It might seem unnecessary to vaccinate a house cat against rabies, especially since more than 90 percent of rabies cases occur in wildlife, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moreover, cat-to-human transmission is rare. Still, the American Association of Feline Practitioners considers the rabies shot a core vaccine even for cats who live indoors. Cats do escape from time to time, and wildlife like bats do occasionally fly in through an open door or window or a crevice in the attic. Often, more rabies cases are confirmed in cats than dogs in a given year.
A rabies shot is generally advised every three years. It’s not one to skip.