National Cat Day: Love Your Own, Leave the Strays Alone

October 13, 2015

Huron County, ON – My name is Patrick and I am a Public Health Inspector with the Huron County Health Unit. One of my duties is rabies control and prevention. I know, I know…another ‘vaccinate your pet against rabies’ message. But wait, there’s more.

I’ll get the “vaccinate your pet against rabies” message out of the way early — provincial law states all dogs, cats, and ferrets (as well as some classes of horses in Huron County) must be vaccinated against rabies. And you must keep their vaccinations up to date. With October 29 being National Cat Day, I also want to mention something we’ve found when investigating possible rabies cases. There are a lot of stray and feral cats throughout Huron County. There are many reasons and I want to highlight one – people feeding and providing shelter to strays.

Sometimes a homeowner decides to leave food and water out when a stray animal shows up at their property. Some even build comfortable shelters. One stray can lead to several strays and eventually an uncomfortable situation for the homeowner. Remember, these animals have not been spayed or neutered!

While people’s hearts may be in the right place, they have also taken on the role of pet ownership and all its responsibilities, including fully vaccinating the animal against rabies and other diseases. An animal with rabies can spread the virus up to three days before it displays any signs or symptoms of rabies. If left untreated, rabies is a fatal disease.

So what should you do? Leave stray or feral animals alone. If the cat sticks around or if you are seriously concerned about the animal, the best thing to do is call animal control or another type of animal service. If you decide to care for the animal, be a responsible pet owner and get all the care it needs (spay/neuter, vaccinations, etc.). If an animal bites or scratches you, wash the wound out as soon as you can with soap and water. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Remember: “Love your own, leave the strays alone.”

Happy National Cat Day,

Patrick Landry, Public Health Inspector
Huron County Health Unit

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For more information:
Our media contact is: Sharon Brown, Executive Assistant, 519-482-3416 (or 1-877-837-6143) ext. 2224 or sbrown@huroncounty.ca

Our spokesperson is: Patrick Landry, Public Health Inspector. Our media contact will connect you to our spokesperson on this topic.

For more information contact:

Rebecca Bartley, Communications Coordinator
519.482.3416 (ext 2023)
rbartley@huroncounty.ca