A cat who attacked several people in the Pine Acres Manor section of Manchester last Wednesday and later died had rabies, according to township police.

It was officers from the Manchester Police Patrol Bureau and an Animal Control Officer who responded to the area last week following the cat attacks on several people.

The feline was found dead near a residence in the neighborhood, and was then brought to the New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Lab where it was confirmed the cat tested positive for rabies.

If you were in the area that day, and more so, if you were bitten or had contact with the rabid cat and/or its saliva, Manchester Police encourage you to get in touch with the Ocean County Health Department at 732-341-9700, as well as getting medical care.

While seemingly many of the reported rabies cases we hear about are from raccoons or foxes, wild animals present a risk for being rabid, which is why it's always relayed to not feed or touch them for your protection and everyone else's.

In 2017, there was an adopted cat up in Edison that ended up coming in contact with more than a dozen people in three different counties in New Jersey and the kitten later tested positive for rabies after licking and scratching at people.

It was also at a time where the average amount of cat-rabies cases were up statewide with an average of 20 per-year, according to State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Colin Campbell in 2017.

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"Rabies is contagious to human beings and other animals. If caught early, rabies can be treated. Signs that an animal may have rabies include the following: abnormal behavior, elevated temperature, anorexia, unprovoked aggression, impaired locomotion, and neurological impairment including vocalization, circling, and paralysis," Manchester Township Police said in a statement while also providing the following reminders/advice on rabies.

• Keep your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination.

• Do not feed or touch wild animals.

• Avoid contact with strays or pets other than your own.

• Report unusual behavior in stray or wild animals to Manchester Township Police Animal Control.

• Report all bites immediately to your local health department, 732-341-9700.

Previous reporting by Dan Alexander was used in this news article.

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Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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