Cats are not native to this area and should really be kept indoors. Allowing cats outdoors is detrimental to native songbirds and other wildlife and also poses a health risk to your family by providing an easy way for fleas, ticks, mites or accompanying wildlife diseases to enter your home. In spite of the risk, should you have a cat that roams, your cat may bring you a “gift” from its travels in the form of a small dead animal. Usually a bird or mouse, a dead animal can be picked up with a shovel or plastic bag and disposed of in the trash.
Being Illinois’ #1 rabies carrier, a bat requires an elevated level of caution. Whether alive or dead, never touch a bat. Their sharp teeth can puncture rubber gloves or a plastic bag and the saliva of an infected bat can cause rabies, should it contact broken skin or a mucous membrane. Bats should be placed only in hard containers, like a coffee can. Rabies is not a threat to a pet that has been vaccinated, but in theory, the pet’s saliva can briefly serve as a carrier fluid, so avoid contact with your pet’s mouth and wear rubber gloves to flush the pet’s mouth with water once it has contacted a bat.
A bat that has been in your pet’s mouth should be submitted to your county’s rabies laboratory for testing, which free and easily found online. If the bat tests positive for rabies and your dog slobbered all over your arms and hands, you may be asked to undergo rabies shots as well.
Tips to Keep Your Family Safe
- Vaccinate your pets.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Contact your pet’s veterinarian anytime your pet catches or fights with a wild animal.
Contact us if you think bats may be living on the property to set up a whole house inspection with one of our wildlife experts.