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Heat Emergency in Boston
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Mayor Wu announced a heat emergency in the City of Boston through Wednesday, July 17. Cooling centers will be open at 14 BCYF community centers Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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Stray cats

This fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about stray cats.

Cats are not a common source of diseases for humans. However, cats, like many animals, can carry diseases that can make humans sick.

The basics

Do not touch stray cats

Cats’ mouths and claws can contain many harmful bacteria and viruses. Never provoke a cat to attack you. Do not bother the cat when it is eating, and do not try to move a cat with your unprotected hands. Use a long stick to push it along or heavy gloves if you must move it. Do not approach kittens, as the mother may be near and is likely to attack you.

If a stray cat bites or scratches you, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water right away. See your doctor or nurse immediately.

Cats can carry rabies

Stray cats may come in contact with bats, raccoons and skunks. These animals sometimes carry rabies. The rabies virus is in the saliva of a sick animal. Since cats groom themselves by putting saliva on their paws, then grooming their fur, cat scratches and cat bites may carry the rabies virus. If you get a potentially contaminated bite or scratch see a health care provider about preventative rabies treatment.

Cat feces

Cat feces contain many types of bacteria and parasites that can make humans sick. People should wash their hands with soap and water after any contact with cat feces. Also, many parasites in cat feces are not infectious when they first come out of the cat’s body, but become infectious later. That is why it makes good health sense to clean up after cats right away. Always wash your hands well after cleaning up after cats.

One-eyed cats

Cats get colds just like we do. The cold germs are not easily passed to us. Wild cats can get eye infections from their colds, and it is not uncommon for the eye to swell shut and even collapse. It is unfortunate for the cat but not much danger to humans.

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