The rabies vaccine is *proven* to last for 3 years. No long-term studies have been done. Many people (including the Colorado State Health Dept.) feel that if the cat was vaccinated as a kitten and properly boostered at a year, that they are protected for life. Much as I dislike vaccines, rabies is one that must be given as required by law.
Rodents and birds do not carry rabies. It is primarily a disease of predators (dogs, cats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, bats). However, occasionally you find a rabid cow or horse that was bitten by a rabid predator, so it's impossible to know.
Since rabies will kill you if you get it, it's best to check with both your vet and your physician. Under the laws of most jurisdictions, the cat will have to be quarantined for at least 10 days, and you may need treatment as well.
Jean Hofve, DVM
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