The city of New York has issued a rabid cat alert. In the neighborhood of Bensonhurst feral cats and kittens could be infected with rabies, an alert is warning. The city officials have captured a rabid raccoon that has been seen fighting with street cats in the neighborhood of Bensonhurst on August, 20.
The infected animal, which was named Foamy, was captured by the Department of Health near 16th Avenue and 78th Street. The rabid cat alert doesn’t sit well with the locals and Denise Szalaiko, a resident whose organization Ferals in Peril neuters street cats, has this to say to the media:
People are in panic. It was first thing that I heard when my [clock radio] alarm went off — rabid raccoons in Bensonhurst.
The woman’s husband, Peter Szalaiko, says that the people of Bensonhurst have nothing to worry about, because the cats in the area are vaccinated against the deadly infection.
We’ve done a lot of trapping in that vicinity. And the rabies shot is not optional. People in that area are relatively responsible, and those that maintain small colonies in their backyards have used our services to get them fixed and vaccinated, so I feel pretty comfortable.
A rabies vaccine normally lasts for about three years, it was revealed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, though results may vary. When a stray cat is captured and fixed, inoculated and vaccinated, the tip of their left ears is snipped off, to signify that they had been taken care of.
Peter did continue that if any of the cats did become infected with the rabies virus, then it could spread quite quickly, because summer is the season when cats mate:
This is the mating season, so males tend to roam looking for female action. It’s a very vulnerable time of the year for any disease to spread, so we’re going to be scouring that area looking for cats that aren’t ear-tipped.
The health department could not say whether it managed to catch the cats that had been fighting with the infected raccoon. Foamy is the third raccoon discovered to have rabies in Brooklyn this year.
Rabies has no treatment, once the symptoms start showing, and the infected animals or people die. But injections before the showing of symptoms neutralizes the virus and the patients survive.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Are you living in the Bensonhurst and have seen any cats behaving strangely? Drop us a line in the comment section below.