Attention Illinois cat owners… a new cat rabies law went into effect January 01, 2020.
This new legislation amends the Animal Control Act and requires all cat owners in the
State of Illinois to have their pets vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
“Rabies is a disease that can spread from animal to animal and also from animals to
people,” explains Dr. Robert Reich, Animal Medical Clinics of Quincy. “The purpose of
this new law is to protect both cats, other pets, and the public from this fatal disease,”
he adds.

Cats under the age of four months are exempt as are feral cats. “If a person bring a
feral cat to a veterinarian for sterilization, it must be vaccinated,” says Dr. Reich.
“According to the new law, the individual bringing any feral cat to a vet’s office is
responsible for covering the cost of the vaccine.”

Effective January 01, 2020, Illinois cat owners are now required by law to register their
pet with their local county animal control office. “Cat owners will now be issued a
numbered collar tag after vaccination, similar to those that are issued for dogs,”
explains Dr. Reich.

The new law includes guidelines for booster shots. “Indoor cats are not exempt from
this new law,” cautions Dr. Reich.

According to information released by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary
Medicine, in recent years, cats are more likely than dogs to contract rabies in the United
States. For that reason, many states have already enacted laws requiring vaccination of
both dogs and cats.

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