Cats Quarantined Due To Contagious Disease at Marshall County Animal Shelter in Moundsville

Photo by Alan Olson The lone cat which takes up residence in the lobby of the Marshall County Animal Shelter is the only one visitors may see during a quarantine period.

A contagious disease has afflicted several new arrivals at the Marshall County Animal Shelter, forcing the shelter’s cat wing to close to arrivals and adoptions while the disease runs its course.

Feline panleukopenia, a possibly fatal disease affecting unvaccinated cats, is said to have arrived sometime earlier in June, before eight kittens started exhibiting symptoms. The cats were tested for the disease this week, confirming that they were infected, requiring the kittens to be put down.

Now, half of the shelter is closed to visitors, and those looking to adopt cats are asked to look elsewhere while the remaining cats are held in quarantine. Shelter Director Lauren Cook said since the shelter is the only facility in the area that takes in cats, it’s been a tough week.

“We’re not taking any cats in, to try and quarantine the area, clean, get rid of it, so for two weeks, we can’t do anything with cats,” Cook said. “We don’t want to send anyone out until we’re sure. We’re the only shelter that takes cats, and we can’t now, so it’s hard. We’ve had a few people, and we have to refer them to other places, but we don’t want anyone else sick.”

Cook said the animals would be re-examined on Monday to see if adoptions would be safe.

The remaining cats at the shelter had been vaccinated and do not show symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting. To prevent further outbreaks, Cook urged pet owners to ensure their shots are up to date and vaccinations done as young as possible.

“It’s totally preventable — just vaccinate your kittens. It’s so simple, and unfortunately, the people who brought the kitten in did not,” she said. “It’s airborne, and super contagious, and in that back room, all the kittens get it.”

“Vaccinate your cats,” she added.