Feral cat tests positive for rabies in Northwest Florida

Okaloosa County

Rabies blood test, conceptual image.

NICEVILLE, Fla. (WKRG) — The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County (DOH) says a feral cat tested positive for rabies on Nov. 15 in the Niceville area.

The health department issued a rabies alert that will last 60 days. Officials say the biggest threat of rabies is to domestic animals that are unvaccinated.

Health Alert Area:

  • ZIP Code- 32578
  • From Redwood Ave to Hwy 85 N 
  • From College Blvd. to Choctawhatchee Bay 

DOH added the following precautions for residents and visitors:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock. 
  • Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property.  If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Okaloosa Animal Services at Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), 850-244-0196. 
  • Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.  
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.  
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals, including feral cats, with outdoor food sources such as cat or dog food, uncovered trash or litter.  
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.  
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.  
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets. 
  • Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the DOH-Okaloosa at 850-833-9247. 

For more information, you can call the DOH at 850-833-9247. 

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