Apr. 14—A feral cat found in Ellicott City has tested positive for rabies, the Howard County Health Department said Wednesday afternoon.
The brown "tabby-like" cat was found Sunday in the 3100 block of West Springs Road in Ellicott City after it bit a person, according to a news release.
The county health department is asking anyone who has come in contact with a stray or feral cat — or had a pet come in contact with one — between April 1 and 11 to call 410-313-1773 (or 410-313-2929 after business hours).
Rabies is spread through a bite or a scratch from an infected animal, including cats, raccoons, bats, foxes and groundhogs. It can also be spread when an infected animal's saliva comes in contact with another person's or animal's eyes, nose or mouth.
Preventive treatment for rabies, which can be fatal, must be started as soon as possible and may be required for anyone who fed, handled or was attacked by the rabid cat, the health department said.
The county health department advises residents against feeding any stray or feral animals, including leaving food dishes outside, and for pet owners to keep their animals' rabies vaccinations up to date.