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      Feral cat caught in Van Buren tested positive for rabies

      A feral cat found in the Town of Van Buren tested positive for rabies, according to the Onondaga County Health Department.

      The animal was found in the Downer Street vicinity.

      Interim Health Commissioner Michelle Mignano urges neighbors not to touch or feed unknown cats, because they interact with other wildlife. If you have a feral cat on your property, Mignano recommends that you contact a professional animal removal service.

      Any mammal can get rabies, but it is seen most often in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes, all of which are found in Central New York.

      The health department gives these steps to help prevent rabies:

      -Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.

      -Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

      -If your family or your pet has been exposed to a bat, capture the bat and call the Animal Disease -Prevention program at 435-3165 to receive information about having the bat tested for rabies. If you awaken to find a bat in your room, or a bat is present in the room of an unattended or sleeping child or, in a room with someone with a mental impairment, seek medical advice and have the bat tested.

      -Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet??s vaccinations current. This is especially important for dogs, cats, and ferrets. Getting your pet vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.

      For more information on rabies, including information on rabies shot clinics in the area, visit www.ongov.net/health, or call 435-3165.