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Stray Kitten - Possible Rabies?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello! I have not posted in such a long time. In fact it has been about a year and a half since I posted. I got a little kitten and knew nothing about how to raise and everybody here was most helpful! Now my "little" baby is a huge adult cat weighing 10+ lbs! Anyway...here is my issue now. The other day my Dad found a small kitten in the weeds crying and he brought it in. To make a long story short, my cat hissed and scared it and it hid and I reached to pick it up and it bit or scratched my finger. Then later that day I read in the newspaper that there have been SEVERAL cases of rabies in my county and the last confirmed case was found in a cat. This made me panic and I called the doctor and he told me since I know nothing of the cat, or where it came from that I should have the rabies vaccinations to be safe. So I am receiving those. I am not a wealthy individual by any means and this hospital bill is going to cost me $5,000 because I have no insurance...ANYWAY I had taken the kitten back outside and put it where it was found but later I found it again and put it in a box and fed it. I talked to the vet and she told me I can pay $150 to have the kitten put to sleep and sent away to be tested for rabies. I don't need another bill on top of this. So she told me I can "quarantine" the kitten for 10 days and if after 10 days it still appears to be healthy it more than likely does not have rabies. The kitten does not act at all sick and it has a very healthy appetite. Its eyes and ears are extremely clean. It's eyes are a clear and blue and it responds well to attention. But then the vet tells me on the other hand an animal can be a carrier or rabies and not get sick. How do I know if this animal is a carrier or rabies???! She told me if it needs to be handled I am to do it since I am receiving the rabies vaccinations. If I decided I wanted to keep this kitten, and it was a carrier or rabies, would it's first rabies vaccination destroy the rabies? Does anybody know anything about this? I am getting attached to this little bugger even though it isn't even in the house!!! He is so cute and you only have to TOUCH him and he purrs like a little motor boat! I do not know the age of this kitten, but he has teeth, his ears stand up, his eyes are blue and he can eat solid food and go to the bathroom himself, he can also walk and run. I am thinking he is maybe 6-7 weeks old? He ate like he was starving to death when I found him. The first night he was in his box he ate almost an entire can 5 oz can of cat food!! He now drinks milk and eats canned meat and some dry food on his own.
post #2 of 9
Here is some info on rabies and feral/stray cats:



The info I have found says that cats are not naturally carriers for rabies and so would shows signs of sickness and die from the disease (rather than becoming a vector and showing it without being ill as some animals may do.) However I do not know if this is an absolute thing or if they may sometimes be able to carry it.
post #3 of 9
Be careful giving cats/kittens cows milk.That causes the runs and they get dehydrated really quick!
Good luck with the kitten.
post #4 of 9
Most kittens hiss and scratch out of fear. When I caught my cat, Bestia, she was only about 6-8 weeks old and she bit, growled, and scratched like a mad animal for the first day. She may have been tiny, but she scared the livins out of me! Not even my hubby wanted to touch.(imagine being scared of a 1/2 lb bundle of fur!LOL!) Anyways, she did not have rabies, she was just freaked out. I would recommend that you keep her in a cage for 10 days like the vet said and see what happens. It would be awful to have her put to sleep just to find out that she didn't have rabies.
post #5 of 9
If she doesn't seem sick, she probably doesn't have rabies. That she hissed and bit really doesn't mean much, considering that the kit has has the furry pants scared off her for the past few hours/days, then some big human came and grabbed her... of course she'd be scared. We've all been bit and scratched by our scared cats, and the kit is no different.

I did a Google search and came up with:
"Cat bites are unlikely to be a source of rabies but they do cause a high incidence of infection. Up to half of bites from cats can result in an infection due to the puncture wound. In case of a cat bite, it is a good idea to contact your physician for possible antibiotics."

(I find antibiotics a bit of an overreaction when it comes to a kitten's baby teeth, or even adult cats--unless the wound is a deep puncture wound you can't clean properly, like what you'd get from an adult's canine teeth. Just clean the wound well with water and apply antiseptic. Infection will be obvious if it occurs, but it shouldn't with well-cleaned, shallow scratches and kitten bites.)


"If the cat (or dog or ferret) appeared healthy at the time you were bitten, it can be confined by its owner for 10 days and observed. No anti-rabies prophylaxis is needed. No person in the United States has ever contracted rabies from a dog, cat or ferret held in quarantine for 10 days."
post #6 of 9
I have dealt with feral over the years scariest one was hershey-got him 12/26/99 and he had mbeen attacked by somethign(not a cat from the way wound were) I knew if I took him to vet theyd euth and then quarantine my other 6 cats(at the time) I just kept him in cage in bathroom(was easy since I was taming him up anyway) He made it throughthe 10 days just fine(he died in feb 03 due to urinary issues) at the time they had picked up alot of rabid animals(I think 3 cats in my CITY alone...so ya I was a bit nervous but...) If you do decide to keep her don't let her OUT AT ALL cause each time you do that backs up the 10 day hold. Also don't be surprised if animal control shows up at your house due to you being treated(found a sick baby racoon years ago and ac called to ask if anyone touched it, were my cats current on rabies(they are inside only cats and NEVER came into contact with the racoon but didnt have rabies shots) In the end they(racoon rehaber and her vet decided he was too sick adn as a precaution sent him out-came out negative and it was most likely runt who caught distemper.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all who replied to my post about my stray kitten. I am still not sure what to do. I am so scared that this kitten could be carrying rabies, though from what I read it isn't likely. October 22nd marked the 10th day since I have had the kitten and it is not sick. It continues to eat well and has gained weight. At last weighing it weighed 1 lb 4.3 ounces. It is so playful and today it jumped out of it's box on it's own in a side room off the garage and was sitting by the kitchen door (the door is not from the outside, you go through our garage, into the side room where the box is, and then there is another door into the kitchen). He was sitting there meowing and I opened the door and he bounced in with his little tail straight up in the air and proceeded to act like he owned the place...LOL You know the way kittens have that just steal your heart! I just hate the thought of giving him to the farmer who wants him if he is perfectly healthy. I just can't stand the idea of him being a barn cat, and since he has never been around cows he is apt to get stepped on by one because he won't be scared of them.
post #8 of 9
If your not keeping him I definatley would try to find him a better home then on a farm(souncds likes he loves ppl to much to thrive in that sort of life) If you do let him go there at the least get him neutered so he isn't fighting his whole life tho. Glad to hear hes doing so well. RJ
post #9 of 9
Well, good then--he hasn't got rabies. If he's come through the 10-day quarantine, there's no need to worry; cats don't carry rabies, and a kitten is too young to have fought a rabid animal and gotten the bite wounds it's usually transmitted through anyway.

So: You now have a kitten! Congratulations. They do have a tendency to adopt you, don't they?

I second the "get him neutered if he becomes a farm cat", but get him neutered even if he doesn't--he'll spray and try to get out and at the females, if you don't. And of course you'll want to be sure he's got his shots, and is free of worms, fleas, earmites and other nasty little things before you introduce him to the other cat.
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