PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has announced that a pet cat in Petersburg recently tested positive for rabies. Local officials are now warning residents to make sure their pets are protected.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, a 3-year-old male cat tested positive for rabies. According to VDH, the cat is an outdoor domestic cat that has been known to interact with other cats. The cat’s owner lives in the Ramblewood neighborhood near Kings Road in Petersburg.

The Petersburg Health Department and Petersburg Animal Control are reminding community members to keep their pets’ vaccinations — especially rabies — up to date.

“Rabies is a preventable disease. We encourage all pet owners to vaccinate their animals to protect them and the community,” said Toinette Waldon, Environmental Health Manager for the Crater Health District.

VDH recommends residents take the following precautions to prevent families and pets from being exposed to rabies:

• Vaccinate all cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies and keep them up to date.

• Avoid contact with wild animals or stray cats and dogs — and do not feed wild or stray animals.

• Report stray animals to local animal control agencies.

• Eliminate outdoor food sources around the home.

• Keep pets confined within property lines or walk them on a leash.

Anyone looking to report a suspicious animal is encouraged to contact Petersburg Animal Control at 804-732-3654. Anyone with concerns about a possible rabies exposure should contact a healthcare provider immediately. For more information on protecting your family from rabies, call 804-863-1652 or visit the VDH website.