Parents often worry about rabies if their child is bitten by a dog, but thanks to widespread vaccination of dogs, that isn't a common way to get rabies in the United States any more.
While still rare, it is much more common for children to be exposed to rabies after having contact with a wild animal, such as a raccoon, skunk, bat, fox, or coyote.
A recent case of a feral cat in Savannah, Georgia testing positive for rabies, but not before exposing 10 people and two dogs to the virus, is a good reminder that you can also get rabies from cats. The cat, which was acting aggressive, and bit one person by a local lake.
Keep in mind that other mammals, including ferrets, can also transmit rabies. It is only animals like squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, mice, other small rodents, rabbits, and hares that don't transmit rabies.
So what do you do if your child is bitten by a cat? As with other animal bites, contact your pediatrician and your local animal control and/or health department for help and advice. In addition to rabies shots, your child may also need a tetanus vaccine and antibiotics to prevent the cat bite wound from getting infected.
Most importantly, in addition to vaccinating your pets, you can help prevent rabies by teaching your kids to stay away from stray dogs and cats and to not touch any wild animals, whether they are dead or alive.