Rabies is a dangerous acute infectious disease. It comes from a common rabies virus between animals and humans – causing deaths with catastrophic symptoms. But how about rabies symptoms in cats?

Characteristics of the virus are the virus that affects the nervous system causing central nervous disorders in the brain leading to encephalitis, cerebral palsy. That makes the animal become frightened (crazy) and die. The symptoms of rabies in cats are very diverse. Let’s find out together.


symptoms of rabies in cats

The number of cats suffering from rabies is numerous. Early symptoms of rabies in cats include: hiding in a deserted place, restlessness, or whining like being in heat. Rabies cats often bite hard and create deep wounds when touched. Therefore, recognizing the symptoms of rabies in cats plays a significant role in prevention or treatment.

Characteristics and mode of transmission

The virus that causes the virus is a rabid virus of the Rhabdovirus family. They are made up of RNA and enclosed. They can persist in the body for 2-8 weeks before they appear to be sick. However, if the virus comes from saliva through the bite, the duration of illness may come 10 days.

The disease is usually at high risk of infection in unvaccinated cats, or wandering outside much and coming into contact with infected wildlife or cats. The disease spreads primarily by the bite. The rabies virus is transmitted directly from rabies to healthy cats through saliva at the bite site.

Read more: How to tell if your cat is sick?

Symptoms of rabies in cats

After an animal becomes infected, rabies virus invades and develops first in muscle tissue. They can survive there, undetected for days or even months. During this incubation period (or latent), the cat remains healthy and shows no signs of disease.

Then usually within 1 to 3 months, the rabies virus will begin to invade the nerves in the body and attack the spinal cord and brain (central nervous system). So, how long for rabies symptoms to appear in cats? Accordingly, it takes from 12-180 days for the virus to spread through the peripheral nerves and finally to the central nervous system.

Here are some other symptoms that your cat is rabid

  • Misbehaving
  • Fever
  • Convulsions
  • Disabled
  • Hydrophobia
  • Delay function
  • Can not swallow
  • The muscles cannot move
  • Unusual shyness or aggressiveness
  • Too excited
  • Sudden change of behavior
  • Paralysis of lower jaw and larynx
  • Drooling, foaming saliva

From here, the disease began to progress quickly, and cats began to show signs of rabies (this virus exists in saliva, tears, breast milk, and cat urine). Eventually, the cat will die within 4 or 5 days. The disease shows up through two main stages, which are the incubation period and the period of onset.

Incubation period

The incubation period can vary from 7 days to months, depending on the species, virulence, and bite site. So, how long does rabies take to show symptoms in cats? Most illness occurs within 21-30 days after cats become infected with the virus.

These symptoms are often undetected or mistaken for other illnesses. That’s why diagnosing your cat in this stage is extremely difficult and requires the help of veterinarians.

The onset of illness

Usually divided into 2 types can be wild madness and polio.

In fact, many cats with rabies can exhibit both clinical forms alternately. At first, they appear crazy, agitated, and then turn into suppressed and polio.

Wild madness

Divided into 3 periods:

Pre-clinical period

Rabies has unusual signs such as hiding in a dark corner, discreet, approaching reluctant owners, or, on the contrary, being excessively superficial, occasionally barking aimlessly, howling Anise, or restlessness.

Frenzy period

It strongly stimulates the motor reflexes. So, it gets overwhelmed when the owner calls, just a slight noise also cries for a long time.

The wound at the site of the bite will itch. Cats lick or bite themselves, scratching to shedding, bleeding.

The cat refuses to eat, swallows hard, has a fever, has bloodshot eyes, dilates pupils. They appear thirsty and want to drink but cannot swallow. The cat begins drooling, foaming at the mouth, fidgeting, alert, frightened, biting or startled, walking unintentionally, becoming aggressive, frantic (2-3 days after sick).

Period of polio

Cats can get paralyzed, and won’t be able to swallow food or water. The paralyzed cat is in the lower jaw, and the tongue lags behind the jaw. They are likely to stick out the tongue, drooling, and the paralyzing hind paw.

Cats die 3 to 7 days after the first symptoms of respiratory paralysis and exhaustion from eating or drinking. 

Polio rabies

A polio rabies is a form of disease without the symptoms of rabies craziness as usual. Cats only have sad expressions.

  • A cat may get paralyzed on one part of the body, half a person, or two hind legs. But most are paralysis of the jaw muscles, the mouth is always open, the jaw is hanging down, and the tongue is protruding.
  • Drooling, the animal did not bite but growled in its throat.
  • This process progresses from 2-3 days.

In general, polio is progressing faster than madness. Usually, only 2-3 days because the behavior of cats affected by the virus affects the circulatory system and respiratory earlier.

Methods of diagnosis of rabies in cats

Clinical diagnostic method

Initially, if you doubt your cat of being infected with rabies, taking the animal to a veterinarian is necessary. They will keep your cat in quarantine for about 10 days. Then, they will conduct a clinical diagnosis combined with monitoring symptoms, history habits, and an attitude towards the owner.

Blood test-ELISA: This is also a method used to diagnose rabies. However, this method is not very popular.

A direct fluorescent antibody test is the most accurate test to make a diagnosis. This activity requires brain tissue, so doctors can only do it after the animals have died.

Rabies prevention

Rabies is an extremely dangerous disease that progresses at a very fast rate, causing many pitiful deaths for pets and increasing the risk of endangering owners and family members, even affect many people. Currently, the World Health Organization classifies rabies as one of the 12 most dangerous infectious diseases in the world. Treating infected animals is extremely costly, difficult, and almost impossible to treat. Therefore, to protect your pets, besides ensuring the safety of your family, loved ones, and yourself against this dangerous disease, prevention is the best option that you should apply.

  • Annual rabies vaccinations for cats.
  • You should keep your cats indoors and it should not be allowed to walk on the street Someone to lead and watch when leading the cat out in public.
  • Clean the accommodation of cats.
  • When you notice a cat showing unusual behavior, refusing to eat or eating little, high fever, or aggressive, take it to the nearest veterinary facility.
  • Disinfect areas around rabies-infected cats (especially with saliva). Dilute 1:32 (150g / 4 liters) of household bleach solution.
  • Cats dying from rabies or suspected of having rabies must be buried or burned.

Final Thoughts

Attention to the symptoms of rabies in cats plays an important role in the health of cats. Rabies is a dangerous disease, and it is almost incurable. Early detection of rabies can save your cat’s life. So, I hope this article has helped you identify signs of cat rabies to plan for timely treatment. Thank you for reading the article.


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