Transmission of the Virus
From the (US) Center for Disease Control information page on rabies:
People usually get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal. It is also
possible, but quite rare, that people may get rabies if infectious
material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, gets directly into their
eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound.
Scratches, abrasions, open wounds, or mucous membranes contaminated
with saliva or other potentially infectious material (such as brain
tissue) from a rabid animal constitute non-bite exposures.
Occasionally reports of non-bite exposure are such that postexposure
prophylaxis is given.
Inhalation of aerosolized rabies virus is also a potential non-bite
route of exposure, but except for laboratory workers, most people
won't encounter an aerosol of rabies virus.
Other contact, such as petting a rabid animal or contact with the
blood, urine or feces of a rabid animal, does not constitute an
So, no, contact with bat feces won't cause your cat to get rabies.
Risks to Indoor Cats
There are still risks for an indoor only cat. Cornell's Feline Health Center has an article (written from the point of view of a cat).
Rabid animals don't behave like normal animals - sometimes they're
overly friendly or abnormally aggressive. We've heard stories about
rabid raccoons breaking through screens and coming indoors, and it's
quite common for bats, which have a high incidence of rabies, to find
their way indoors. There's nothing that I like better than chasing a
bird or bat around the house, and I'll bet that most of my feline
brethren would agree. Bats can enter homes or apartments through small
There's also always the chance, however small, that an indoor-only cat
might sneak outdoors through an open window or door. Some of us become
frightened and escape when we're carried outdoors for, say, trips to
the vet hospital, and I've heard about cats whose cars have been
involved in accidents that left them suddenly free (cat carriers will
prevent most of these accidental escapes).
Rabies is a Serious Disease
The article from Cornell's Feline Health Center continues:
Bite wounds treated by a physician are typically reported to the
health department, which may then request proof of rabies vaccination.
If the owner can't provide this proof, once again there may be
repercussions for both owner and kitty, including a fine for having an
unvaccinated animal; a recommendation that the cat be euthanized and
tested for rabies, especially if the cat was ill; or a period of
quarantine, for the cat. These penalties may seem overly severe, but
remember that once the signs appear, there is no effective treatment
The danger we hear about most often in conjunction with vaccines is sarcoma (ie. cancer). Lisa A Pearson writes:
These are highly invasive, aggressive/malignant cancerous tumors that
are often fatal within months of appearing.
They are most commonly associated with vaccine adjuvants but can also
form at the site of any injection that causes local inflammation.
That said, even though injected substances other than adjuvants can
cause sarcomas, these tumors were relatively rare prior to the advent
Adjuvants are substances that are added to vaccines to purposely cause
inflammation at the vaccine site in order to alert the immune system
to its presence. They are used with killed vaccines to stimulate a
more robust immune response.
Do not assume that your veterinarian uses non-adjuvanted vaccines.
ASK - before allowing any vaccine to be injected into your cat.
Please note: NO vaccine (adjuvanted or non-adjuvanted) is to be given
in the scruff area under any circumstance. They are to be given as low
on a limb as possible. This is to allow for limb amputation if a VAS
In 1997, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) came out
with the strong recommendation to never use the scruff area for
Dr. Pearson also discusses higher incidence of kidney failure among cats who have been vaccinated.
The viruses used to make vaccines need to be grown in what is called a
"cell culture". The cells used to make the FVRCP vaccine are feline
(cat) kidney cells.
When these kidney cells are injected into the cat (along with the
vaccine), his immune systems views them as foreign and makes
antibodies against them. Unfortunately, those antibodies do not know
the difference between the injected kidney cells and his own kidney
tissue resulting in a potential autoimmune 'attack' on his kidneys.
('Auto' means 'self''.)
Other possible side affects that she discusses include allergies (both life threatening anaphylactic and milder allergies), Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, anorexia, lameness, neurologic abnormalities, local swelling and soreness at vaccine site.
These are difficult issues that a cat owner must weigh. If a vaccine is legally required, the best you can do is make sure it is non-adjuvanted and injected as low in the leg as possible.