SPCA seeks temporary homes for cats, kittens

The Otago SPCA is looking for up to 10 people to foster cats or kittens for up to three weeks, in the wake of a deadly virus which has hit the facility's cat population.

Although the cat adoption centre was closed and put under strict quarantine conditions last week, Dunedin residents continue to bring cats and kittens in for adoption.

Executive officer Sophie McSkimmings said about five cats or kittens were brought in each day, and about 10 fosterers were needed to look after them at their own homes until the highly contagious feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) had been eradicated from the facility.

About 40 cats came into contact with the virus last week when a stray cat infected with the disease was brought in by a member of the public.

FPV primarily attacks the stomach lining and the bone marrow, and symptoms include vomiting, profuse and bloody diarrhoea, anaemia and severe dehydration.

Six cats were known to have died from the virus as of last Thursday, but she declined to say how many since.

''There's been a number of cats that have succumbed to the disease.

''We seem to have this terrible disease under control at the moment, but we have to go through two weeks of animals not showing any kinds of symptoms, before we can open again.''

She said fosterers would be provided with food, food bowls and litter trays.

''All they [the fosterers] have to do is look after the animal for two to three weeks - we provide everything else.''

The Otago SPCA would be closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday while a cleaner disinfected the quarantine room with ''some pretty powerful chemicals that we don't want the public around''.

Dunedin residents were reassured FPV could not be contracted by humans or dogs, and pets already adopted from the cat adoption centre were not expected to be affected.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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