Help - dead opossum. Warning: slightly gory

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Help - dead opossum. Warning: slightly gory

Post by Gordie Freedma » Wed, 06 May 1998 04:00:00



This morning I was greeted at the front door with a dead opossum. I
suspect the opossum and my cat got into a little altercation. The
opossum was small, that's how my cat managed to kill it. My cat is
around 5 years old, never fights with or bites/claws people, and is a
real sweetheart, unless you are a rodent or bird. He also lives to go
outside, he has an amazing array of tricks he will use to get his way if
I try to keep him inside.

I have some questions:

1) Is is possible to do anything to prevent my cat from attacking small
animals (other than keeping it inside, which is not an option)?

2) There's a fair amount of *** outside, what is the best way to clean
it, both off the floor and off of my cat (which I suspect is dirty from
it, although I haven't seen him yet today, for all I know that might be
the least of my worries with him).

3)  My cat gets his rabies shots every year or so, but he's about due
right now. Anything else I should worry about?

Thanks for any advice or help.

BTW - to avoid spam, I put a bogus email address in the reply header.
Change the "nospam" to "communities" if you want to send mail directly
to me, but I'll be checking this group for replies so it's probably a
non issue.

-- Gordie

 
 
 

Help - dead opossum. Warning: slightly gory

Post by Erik H. Hofmeiste » Wed, 06 May 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> 1) Is is possible to do anything to prevent my cat from attacking small
> animals (other than keeping it inside, which is not an option)?

   I've heard bells attached to the collar can sometimes help.

Quote:
> 3)  My cat gets his rabies shots every year or so, but he's about due
> right now. Anything else I should worry about?

    The protocal for an animal which comes into contact with a possible
rabies positive animal is to keep that animal isolated for 45 days if it's
vaccinated, 6 months if unvaccinated.  If you still have the possum, you
may want to send it to your local and friendly veterinary university
hospital for a rabies test so you'll know For Sure if your cat
was potentially exposed or not.
   The rationale for the isolation is to be certain the animal does not
have rabies.  Rabies rakes a variable amount of time to incubate, which is
why the isolation period is so long for unvaccinated critters.  I believe
the rabies vaccine is quite good, and yearly boosters are likely to keep
your cat's titers nice and high.  So I wouldn't worry about it too much,
but I WOULD send that possum in for rabies test.

Erik "Rouleaux" Hofmeister
WSU Class '00

PLEASE NOTE: In the absence of a traditional veterinarian-client-patient
relationship, this information should be taken as a friendly opinion, not
as an official clinical recommendation.  Also realize that I am a veterinary
student, and anything stated should be taken with that in mind.

 
 
 

Help - dead opossum. Warning: slightly gory

Post by Adam J. Lange » Wed, 06 May 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> 1) Is is possible to do anything to prevent my cat from attacking small
> animals (other than keeping it inside, which is not an option)?

        Cats are obligate carnivores and hunters by behavior.  I doubt you'll
get your cat to suddenly become a pacifist.

Quote:
> 2) There's a fair amount of *** outside, what is the best way to clean
> it, both off the floor and off of my cat (which I suspect is dirty from
> it, although I haven't seen him yet today, for all I know that might be
> the least of my worries with him).

        Have you tried soap (or shampoo for the cat) and water?

Quote:
> 3)  My cat gets his rabies shots every year or so, but he's about due
> right now. Anything else I should worry about?

        Well, I think the first thing you need to do is find the cat.  If he's
injured, then you absolutely need to see your veterinarian immediately.
Otherwise, you should call your veterinarian and ask his or her advice.
If the cat is due for revaccination soon anyway, it can't hurt to take
him in and get a physical examination.

        As an afterthought, you might want to preserve the opposum carcass for
testing, especially if your cat has been bitten.  Again, consult your
veterinarian since he or she is the expert on your local wildlife
disease situation.

Adam Langer '01
College of Veterinary Medicine
Oklahoma State University

--
http://www.moonsgarden.com/~groups/students/web/2001/langera/index.htm

 
 
 

Help - dead opossum. Warning: slightly gory

Post by yngv » Thu, 07 May 1998 04:00:00




Quote:
> > 3)  My cat gets his rabies shots every year or so, but he's about due
> > right now. Anything else I should worry about?

>         Well, I think the first thing you need to do is find the cat.  If he's
> injured, then you absolutely need to see your veterinarian immediately.
> Otherwise, you should call your veterinarian and ask his or her advice.
> If the cat is due for revaccination soon anyway, it can't hurt to take
> him in and get a physical examination.

>         As an afterthought, you might want to preserve the opposum carcass for
> testing, especially if your cat has been bitten.  Again, consult your
> veterinarian since he or she is the expert on your local wildlife
> disease situation.

Just to perhaps ease your fears, however, our local Animal Control
office told us that opossums are very resistant to rabies and there is
very little danger of cats or dogs getting rabies from a them. Still,
you should have the carcass tested just to be sure.
Also, I'd be really concerned about finding your cat. Opossums may
pretend to look fierce but they almost never attack, and usually only
fight to defend themselves. Their main defense is playing dead (of
course), but if the aggressor really won't leave them alone, they will
bite and scratch. If you are seeing a lot of ***, it could be that
some of it is also from your cat.
I used to live on a farm and our dogs would often tangle with opossums.
The opossums could really tear the dog's snout if the dog would not
leave them alone, so your cat could be seriously injured.

-yngver
(to reply, change initial "i" to "y")