Your Cat Caught a Bat! What Should You Do?
If you have a cat that likes the outside world, you likely have had to deal with it bringing you “gifts” from time to time. It is thought that when cats bring us dead things, they view us as family and want to help us learn how to hunt. As cute as this sounds, in reality, it’s quite an inconvenience as we now have to figure out what to do with the dead animal in our house. Of course, you would dispose of any dead animals brought in by your pet, but some animals, like bats, require additional action. So, if your cat caught a bat, what should you do?
Why should you act promptly if your cat catches a bat?
Bats in the US are at risk of carrying rabies and other diseases. Sick bats can become disorientated and grounded and may be easy prey for your pet. The probability of a bat having rabies is relatively low, but if an animal develops rabies, the disease is fatal. Therefore, if your cat has caught a bat, you should take prompt action to protect your pet.
What steps should you take?
FIRST ⇒ Contain the bat – It is important to contain the bat so that other animals or humans don’t come into contact with it. Never touch a bat with bare hands. Make sure your arms are well covered and use leather gloves if you have them. Use a plastic bag to pick up the bat. Then place the bag inside another bag or container. Don’t throw the bat away, as it may need to be sent to a lab for rabies testing. Alternatively, if you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, then call animal control.
SECOND ⇒ Contact your vet. Their recommended treatment will depend on whether your pet is rabies vaccinated. The CDC guidance is as follows:
- Animals that have been vaccinated before will receive another vaccination and will be kept in quarantine for 45 days under the owner’s observation. If they show any signs of illness during this time, owners should contact the vet immediately. The animal will be euthanized if there are signs of rabies.
- Unvaccinated animals exposed to rabies should be euthanized as, sadly, there is no post-exposure treatment available yet that will be effective for unvaccinated animals.
- If owners of unvaccinated pets refuse euthanasia, the animals will be given a rabies shot and quarantined for 4-6 months. If symptoms develop, euthanasia will be the only option.
THIRD ⇒ Once you have spoken to your vet, you should also contact your doctor, as they may recommend you receive post-exposure prophylaxis.
What can you do to protect your pet from rabies?
The above information shows that you must keep your pet’s rabies vaccination up-to-date.
If your cat caught a bat, you must phone your veterinarian for immediate advice. If your pet needs a rabies vaccination, this needs to be given as soon as possible. Sadly it will be too late to do anything once symptoms develop as no treatment can cure rabies; only preventative treatment is available. Therefore, don’t “wait and see” if your pet gets sick, you need to act immediately.
Can I stop my cat from hunting bats?
Hunting is part of many animals’ natural instincts and if your pet is a “hunter,” there’s not much you can do to stop it. Some vets suggest giving your cat toys that it can chase or “hunt,” like toy mice, feathers on a stick, or laser torches that you can use to play with the cat so it can use its energy up chasing the light or feather.
If bats are roosting in your property, the likelihood of your pet catching a bat is greatly increased. Not only are they a health risk for you and your pet, but they can also cause a huge amount of damage to properties. Contact your local residential bat removal company for advice if you think you might have bats roosting in your house.
We don’t share this information to cause you unnecessary anxiety. We just want to help you protect yourself and your pets. If you have any questions or need help with a bat removal, contact us today.
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