FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control has suspended the adoption and intake of adolescent cats and kittens due to a recent outbreak of a highly contagious viral disease.

The shelter said Thursday that it was working to contain and decontaminate amid an outbreak of feline panleukopenia, a potentially lethal virus that is spread when a cat or kitten comes into contact with infected feces, vomit, nasal discharge and other bodily excretions. It mostly affects unvaccinated kittens and can cause fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, or death.

Feline panleukopenia does not affect people or other types of animals such as dogs.

Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control said it was suspending all adoptions of adolescent cats and kittens will be suspended until Tuesday, Aug 23, or until it’s safe, “to ensure the disease does not continue to spread to cats in our community.”

The shelter will also not take in any cats or kittens until at least Sept. 1, or until medical staff determines it can return to normal operations.

In the meantime, staff was testing and watching all cats currently at the shelter. All cats and kittens are vaccinated when they come to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control.

Anyone who has adopted a cat or kitten from Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, whether the shelter location or off-site, since Aug. 1 should monitor their pet at home. If it has or is showing symptoms please call our office at 427-1244 option 1 immediately. Staff are working to contact adopters that may be affected by the outbreak.

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Citizens who currently have an appointment to surrender an at-risk cat or kitten will be contacted and offered options to get the cat vaccinated at the shelter then keep it at their home until the shelter is ready and able to take the cat or kitten. Citizens bringing in stray cats or kittens will be offered the same service, vaccinations then the option to hold them in their home to prevent further spread of the disease. FWACC is an open access shelter, so if the citizen does not wish to take the cat or kitten home we will take it in. 

To further stop the spread of the disease in our community, all community cats will be vaccinated against feline panleukopenia before being returned to their colony.

Feline panleukopenia is a preventable disease. FWACC is urging all pet owners to ensure their cats are up-to-date on current vaccines. Kittens can receive the first round of vaccines to prevent the deadly disease at 4-6 weeks and should receive boosters as recommended by a veterinarian. Adult cats should also be vaccinated to prevent illness.

The shelter is seeking the community’s immediate help with donations to the Angel Fund to help cover the cost of the additional vaccines needed for community cats and care needed for affected cats.

Those wishing to donate can help by either purchasing needed supplies via the shelter’s Amazon Wishlist or making monetary donations through the shelter’s website.