Ohio Considers Mandatory Rabies Vaccination for Cats

Violators would be fined $50 under proposed legislation.

By Marissa Heflin | Posted: July 2, 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Ohio Considers Mandatory Rabies Vaccination for Cats
Ohio is considering a bill that would mandate rabies vaccinations for all pet cats.
Ohio is considering a bill that would mandate rabies vaccinations for all pet cats. Under House Bill 446, cat owners, keepers or harborers must make sure their pet is properly vaccinated at all times or face a penalty of $50.

Exemptions from vaccination requirements include instances in which a cat’s well-being would be endangered by a vaccination against rabies as determined by a veterinarian; a cat that is confined to the premises of an organization or a nonprofit corporation that is devoted to the care of, or providing hospital treatment for lost or homeless animals; a cat that is confined for research purposes at a facility registered under the U.S. Animal Welfare Act; a cat that is confined to an animal shelter; and feral cats.

Owners, keepers or harborers of a cat that is vaccinated against rabies in another state and later moves to Ohio must provide proof of vaccination for the animal to the board of health of the health district in which they reside.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, an industry trade group representing retailers, companion animal suppliers and hobbyist groups, among others, states that this type of legislation is not uncommon as most states require cats to have a rabies vaccination and require owners to provide proof of the vaccination upon demand.

PIJAC urges cat owners to consult with their veterinarian to make sure their pets do not fall within a vaccination exemption.

The legislation sits in the Senate Committee on State & Local Government & Veterans Affairs where it waits for a committee hearing. For more details, click here.

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Reader Comments

Wanda    Wysox, PA

8/6/2014 7:03:34 PM

Just wondering in OH if a cat is strictly an indoor cat and bites it's owner does that mean the cat has to be tested for rabies?

Delilah    Columbus, OH

4/9/2012 10:30:59 AM

Did this law ever pass? I just got a notice from my vet that our cat is due for her rabies. I called to inquire about the shot and was told "... it is the Law in Ohio for cats to get their rabies shots." I don't believe in unnecessarily exposing my animals to meds or the stress of visiting the vet unless truly necessary. Can anyone help?

KBM    Ravenna, OH

3/31/2011 6:11:01 PM

According to ohio laws there is no requirement for ANY animal to have a rabies vaccination. The requirement for rabies vaccinations are set by each county and municipality. If dogs aren't required by the State of Ohio to have rabies vaccinations then cats shouldn't be either.

Heather    Nashport, OH

9/1/2010 10:40:36 PM

I think this law is unnecessary and just a way for the state to make money. My cats are both indoor-only, meaning that they never go outside. Why should I have to vaccinate my cats against rabies when they are not in contact with any other animals? This law is bullcrap.

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