Both people and cats can get infected with Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever. People usually acquire the infection by handling dead rabbits (whether shot or died of natural causes); and cats contract it more directly by eating infected rabbits.

Infected cats may have a high fever, mouth ulcers, depression, enlarged lymph nodes and behavioral changes that include not wanting to eat. Cats that have been outdoors and are showing these symptoms need veterinary care.

People can become infected by handling pets or wild animals with tularemia, or by being bitten by ticks or inhaling the organism, health officials said. Symptoms of the disease in people include sudden fever, chills, diarrhea, joint pain, muscle aches, cough and weakness. If you have those symptoms, see your doctor for treatment.

Tularemia is a very unpleasant disease for both cats and people. Just one more reason to (you know what’s coming…say it with me now!) “Keep your cat indoors!”

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