Dear Dr. vybe,
My neighborhood is sort of known for stray cats, much to my son’s excitement — he loves cats and has been begging us to get one. So, a simple game of neighborhood basketball quickly turns into my son chasing after the local stray cats. We love living in Point Breeze, but I’m not sure that this obsession is one that is safe for him. My biggest question is: are these encounters with stray cats dangerous?
Finding Strays for Days
Dear Finding Strays for Days,
Though cats can seem cute and cuddly, especially when they’re rolling around on the sidewalk begging for a snack, it’s in your best interest to stray away from the strays in your neighborhood. It’s not that they mean any harm, but more so that they can be a breeding ground for some unpleasant symptoms.
Cats can carry lice, which believe it or not can be passed on to a person if they come in contact with their fur. On top of that, strays can carry tapeworm and rabies — now those two things are certainly something you want to avoid. Luckily, the risk of contracting either from a stray cat is low but sometimes kids don’t know how to read an animal when it’s not ready to play.
Our advice: teach your child to not walk up to stray animals, but to just admire them from afar. Why? The major concern is getting bit or scratched by a stray; when an animal bite punctures your skin, the bacteria from its mouth can enter the wound. If left untreated, the bacteria can grow and cause pain, tissue damage or even more serious problems.
So, Finding Strays for Days, if your child is a cat admirer that’s okay — as long as he’s not getting too close. If he does happen to find himself with a bite or scratch, head to your local vybe urgent care to get seen as soon as possible. Now that summer is coming to an end, your cat encounters may be few and far between but keep this info in your back pocket just in case.