Q. Does having cat-licked food lead to rabies infection?

Answered by
Dr. Basuki Nath Bhagat
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 19, 2023

Hello Doctor,

I had eaten cat-licked food. It is necessary to take the anti-rabies vaccine if taken in five doses in the same month and two booster doses after six months.



Welcome to

Rabies is spread by contact with the saliva of the infected animal. Bites are the most common form of rabies transmission, but when saliva reaches any open wound or mucus membrane, the virus may be transmitted. Theoretically, there is a very rare possibility of such transmission. However, there are too many other factors to be perfect for getting the virus after eating food licked by a cat. First, the cat has to be infected with rabies. Second, you should have any mouth ulcer or any cracks in the mucous membrane in the mouth for virus transmission inside the body. Third You should have eaten food just after the cat has licked food before the saliva dries out. Also, the rabies virus doesn't survive outside the rabid animal saliva after the saliva dries out. Also, I have not read any such incident or documented case of rabies virus transmission after eating cat-licked food. Finally, you should take two doses of the vaccine if all the above factors are present. You can consult with a specialist if you have further doubts about it.

Thank you.

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