Twelve days ago I was bitten by a cat. I live in an officially rabies free country so no vaccine was given nor is there any tracking in place. I saw a doctor he simply said it was not necessary. Still rabies is occasionally found in bats and other animals in this country and I would not like to be the first case in several years to be infected from a cat. I would like to be as safe as possible so I found the cat myself and eventually the owner but she avoided all communication. Today I saw the cat in the garden and he still looked healthy (as far as I could tell from 2 meters).

Does this mean the cat did not transmit rabies when he bit me?

I would like to find a trustworthy source on this matter. The closest I could find was:

http://americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/rabies-facts-prevention-tips/: "In almost all states, an animal that has bitten a human or another domestic animal must undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period. Some states require that this quarantine be carried out in an approved animal control facility, while others may allow the quarantine to be carried out at the owner’s home. The quarantine is set at 10 days because a rabies-infected animal can only transmit the disease after clinical signs have developed AND once these signs have developed, the animal will die within 10 days. If the animal lives beyond the 10th day, it can be said with certainty that it was not shedding the rabies virus at the time that the bite occurred. If the animal dies before the 10th day, it can be tested for rabies. If the test is positive, a human bite victim will still have enough time to receive post-exposure vaccinations and prevent the disease."

But I could not find a proper medical source.

P.S.: I live in Europe and not in the US.

Reading the On-topic guideliness perhaps giving too much back story made the question off-topic. In that case I will edit it to be more clearly on topic but the following question should definitely be on topic: Is the citation I provided accurate? Is there some medical source backing up the claims.

  • Thank you for reading the site guidelines. Your question is perfectly fine. :-)
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 23:07
  • This might also ease your mind. It contains a list of feline-rabies-free countries, as well as a ton of information on feline rabies. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


When a cat (or any other mammal) displays the symptoms of rabies (and biting with no reason is one of the symptoms), it dies within 10 days. No exception.

If the cat is infected, but does not display the symptoms, it can't infect any other animal, or yourself.

Conclusion: if the cat is still alive after 12 days, there is no reason why you should be infected.

You can get more thorough explanations here: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/brain-infections/rabies

  • 1
    A cat can be infected and can infect others while asymptomatic for three days. After three days of viral shedding, it becomes symptomatic, and dies in about 5 days, thus the 10 day observation period (3+5=8). But, contrary to your statement ("If the cat is infected, but does not display the symptoms, it can't infect any other animal...), an asymptomatic but infected cat can cause a lethal viral transmission. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 1:50
  • Also, please also note that your link does not support your statement. It's too limited an overview. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 1:56

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