HC Deb 29 April 1897 vol 48 c1246

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the death of Mr. John Hetch, 60 years of age, who died in the Queen's Hospital, Birmingham, from the effects of a cat's bit; whether he is aware that the medical evidence proved the death to be undoubtedly the result of rabies; and whether he is prepared, either by issuing a universal muzzling order for cats, or otherwise, to guard against the danger thus shown to exist?


Yes; my attention has been directed to the lamentable case to which my hon. Friend refers, which seems undoubtedly to have been one of hydrophobia due to the bite of a eat. I do not think that any direct action against rabies in cats is either practicable or necessary. The information in our possession goes to show that the disease is usually conveyed from dogs to cats, not vice versâ, and in fact no cases under the latter head are known to us. If, therefore, we succeed in our efforts to stamp out rabies amongst dogs in this country, the disease is not at all likely to be kept alive by means of cats. I may, perhaps, add for the assurance of owners of cats, that out of 1,075 persons treated for hydrophobia at the Pasteur Institute during the first nine months of 1895, 1,039 had been bitten by dogs and only 36 by cats.