Local News

El Paso County reports first rabid cat since 1966

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A 3-week-old kitten found in Fountain has tested positive for rabies.

El Paso County Public Health says this is the first reported case of rabies in a domestic cat in the county since 1966.

The kitten was found abandoned under a shed on South Race Street in Fountain. The kitten, which was displaying neurologic symptoms, tested positive for rabies at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Laboratory on October 24, 2013.

According to reports from the neighborhood, the mother of the rabid kitten was a calico cat last seen in early October.

While rabies has commonly been thought to be an issue of wild animals (such as skunks and bats) there have been four other rabid cats in Colorado in 2013. These cats were found in Larimer, Logan, Washington and Weld counties.

How to recognize sick or diseased animals:
  • Healthy wildlife are normally afraid of humans. Sick or diseased wildlife often do not run away when spotted by people.
  • Wildlife or domestic animals suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently. 
  • However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid animals might also stumble or have trouble walking.

An unknown number of people who have had contact with the kitten have been assessed by El Paso County Public Health for treatment.

Anyone who may have had contact with this cat, or any stray cats or kittens in the area of South Race Street in Fountain in the past two weeks is asked to contact El Paso County Public Health.

Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. It is a viral disease that infects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, causing brain swelling and damage, and ultimately, death.

Rabies is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals, resulting in the spread of the disease through their infected saliva. Rabies also can be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Take these precautions to prevent rabies:
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet's records or talk to your veterinarian.
  • When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
  • Keep cats and other pets inside at night when foxes and skunks are more active. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) while outside.
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – don't leave pet food outdoors.
  • If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by any animal, call your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at 719-473-1741.

Preventive medication is available for people known or suspected to have been bitten by a rabid animal. It is important for people bitten or scratched by a wild animal or an unfamiliar animal to contact their doctor.

Reports of Rabies in El Paso County, Colorado

2013: 9 (4 bats, 2 foxes, 2 skunks, 1 cat)
2012: 3 (3 bats)
2011: 15 (5 bats, 1 fox, 9 skunks)
2010: 17 (8 bats, 4 foxes, 5 skunks)

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