In a warning to cat owners, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA, said new data shows that the number of reported rabies cases among cats increased by 12 percent in 2008 compared to 2007.
“While dogs have historically been associated with rabies transmissions to humans, cats are the animal most likely to expose a human to rabies,” the CDC said in a feature on its website. “Cats are often in close contact with both humans and wild animals, including those that primarily transmit rabies. This creates a situation in which rabies may be more easily transmitted to humans from cats.”
In looking for a reason for the rise in cat rabies, the CDC noted that, “cat owners might not be as likely to visit a veterinarian’s office, where they can receive shots that can keep their cat safe from rabies.” The CDC cited data from the American Veterinary Medical Association that “indicates that more than 36 percent of U.S. cat-owning households did not visit a veterinarian in 2006.” That is more than double the percentage of dog-owning households that didn’t visit a vet.
Jim Dawson reports for Inside Science News Service.