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News and Announcements

Rabies Advisory - Stray Cats

Release Date: August 11, 2010
Residents are advised to avoid all contact with stray or feral cats.

Feral, Stray, and Free-Roaming Cats
Residents are advised to avoid all contact with feral, stray or free-roaming cats due to the potential exposure to rabies. The local health authority recently discovered the presence of rabies in a stray cat after it was captured and tested positive for the disease.
Rabies is an often deadly viral infection that is mainly spread by infected animals. The primary way rabies virus is transmitted to cats is through a bite from infected disease carriers such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.
Rabies and Cat Bites
Although the risk of getting rabies from a cat is fairly low, some rabies cases occur in domestic animals, including cats.
Feral, stray and free-roaming cats can become exposed to the rabies virus by attacks from infected wildlife. Because feral, stray and free-roaming cats live close to both humans and wildlife, it is very important to avoid all contact with these animals.
Advice To Prevent Exposure To Rabies
The Dover Health Department offers the following advice to prevent exposure to rabies:
        All pets should have current rabies immunizations.
        Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
        Do not leave pet food outside. This also attracts other animals.
        For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
        Animal control staff should be alerted for animals encountered with signs suspicious for rabies.
        Be cautious around wildlife displaying suspicious signs of behavior such as unusual aggression and/or the lack of fear of humans and unusual daylight activity.
        Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
        Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially raccoons, feral cats, bats, and foxes.
        No animal is too young to have rabies.
        Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Dover Health Department at 973-366-2200, x 119, 120, 125.