Is the Rabies Vaccine Important for Indoor Cats?

cat vaccination

Rabies is a nasty, terminal disease that rips through and destroys an infected mammal’s central nervous system. The majority (90%) of rabies-diseased animals in the United States are wild. This is because of vaccination. But, many people still think the vaccination is unnecessary. This is especially true with indoor cats.

September 28th is World Rabies Day. In honor of this, here are some facts about rabies and a little about why it’s so super important that indoor cats are vaccinated.

  • Mammals contract rabies from open wounds (bites, scratches) and mucus membranes exposed to an infected animal’s saliva.
  • Rabies is only transmitted through saliva or brain matter.
  • According to the latest CDC report, in 2014 cats made up over 60% of reported rabies cases in domestic animals. That’s an increase of over 10% from the previous year. The number of infected dogs decreased by more than 33%.
  • Contrary to common belief, infected animals are not always aggressive. They can also be calm. Depending on the progression, they can act a little woozy and confused.

Some people may have fears of over vaccinating their cats. Some don’t see the point of rabies vaccinations because their babes spend their lives inside. Here’s a couple of reasons why you should have your indoor cat vaccinated for rabies, even if they never venture outside.

#1 It’s the law.

Almost all states have laws requiring rabies vaccination for pets. Specifics about frequency, authorized administrators, and exemptions vary by state and sometimes county. Go here to find your state’s regulations (updated January 2016).

#2 Accidents happen.

Exposure to rabies is serious business. No matter the likelihood, possibilities trump probabilities.

Children leave doors ajar. Holes appear in screens. Cats get spooked, excited, or mischievous and run out faster than we can stop them.

It may surprise you how common it is for outside animals to find their way into homes. Stray cats, bats, and even raccoons can come through doors, windows, and chimneys. A couple of outdoor kitties hang around our door begging for food and love. They look healthy, but I don’t know if they’re vaccinated.

Then, there’s always the possibility that your cat gets scared and bites a guest. You may have to present your vaccination records. If you don’t have them, your cat can face euthanasia or quarantine. The chance of this happening depends on your cat’s temperament. In any case, it’s possible.

You love your babes and want the best for their health and safety. Part of that is protecting them with a rabies vaccination. Life is unpredictable, and this vaccination eliminates one risk. It makes sense and the law often requires it.