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Hillsborough County FL health officials (DOH-Hillsborough) issued two rabies alerts last week after rabid cat attacks in two areas of the county on the west coast of Florida.

The first situation involved an unprovoked attack by a rabid cat near the 4500 block of W Knollwood Street in Tampa where at least three people were exposed. They are all receiving treatment.


The animal was a brown tabby, domestic shorthair cat (see photo).

The rabies alert is for 60 days. The boundaries are:

  • North – Waters Avenue
  • South – Hillsborough Avenue
  • East – Dale Mabry Highway
  • West – Veterans Expressway

If someone was in the boundary and was bitten, scratched, or exposed to the saliva of a cat fitting the description or any wild animal, they are encouraged to contact DOH-Hillsborough on (813) 307-8059 and visit their preferred health care provider

The second, more recent case involved a rabid brown and black tabby, domestic shorthair cat (see photo below) in Gibsonton.

The cat attacked  a man near Nundy Avenue in Gibsonton. The victim told DOH-Hillsborough the cat jumped out of the bushes as he was walking and grabbed onto his foot. He then shot and killed the cat.

The victim is now undergoing rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.


The rabies alert is for 60 days. The boundaries are:

  • North – The Alafia River
  • South – Symmes Road
  • East – E. Bay Road
  • West – US HWY 41

In 2018, Hillsborough County has identified nine rabid animals (six cats, two bats and one raccoon) that exposed 20 people and four domestic dogs to the disease. It’s clear that there are rabid animals living throughout the county and state.

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Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
  • If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center at (813) 744-5660.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might encounter people and pets.
  • Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County at (813) 307-8059.

Hillsborough County, Florida Image/David Benbennick
Hillsborough County, Florida
Image/David Benbennick