Cat diagnosed with rabies in Birmingham

The Detroit News

A cat has been diagnosed with rabies in Birmingham, Oakland County health officials said Friday.

With rabies already found in four bats and 11 skunks and now a domestic cat, authorities are warning pet owners to have their dogs and cats vaccinated against the disease.

“People and their pets are urged to avoid encounters with unfamiliar animals, and keep pets protected by getting them vaccinated,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. "Rabies is a fatal disease for both humans and pets, and there is no known cure.”

County officials said to make sure to keep pets "indoors, supervise when outside and always use a leash when walking" to keep their pets from being exposed to wild animals that might be rabid.

“Outside cats have a far greater chance of encountering a wild animal that could be sick or aggressive,” said Bob Gatt, manager of the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center. “Keeping your cats inside is the best way to ensure their continued safety.”

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Anyone who is bitten by a wild or a strange animal should wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

To report an animal bite, call local police and notify the Oakland County Health Division at (248) 858-1286.