t’s understandable that some cat owners want to let their feline go outdoors to enjoy life as a cat rather than keep the animal inside as just a pet. But research conducted by investigators at the University of Maryland has found that the practice significantly increases the chance your cat will get rabies if his vaccination is not up to date — and transmit it to you.
The researchers installed motion-activated wildlife cameras across more than 1,400 sampling locations in Washington, D.C. Looking over the pictures, they found that the average house cat let outside has a 61 percent probability of being found in the same space as America’s most prolific rabies spreader among felines: raccoons. The cats had pretty much the same spatial overlap with red foxes and Virginia opossums, both of which can also spread disease. Why take that chance? Even though the rabies inoculation is extremely successful at protecting cats against infection, no inoculation is 100 percent effective. And once a cat contracts rabies, there is no cure.
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