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Published: Monday, 6/23/2014

Paws and Whiskers shelter for cats reopens after virus


A Toledo cat shelter has reopened after closing for a week to deal with a highly contagious feline virus.

On June 16, a kitten at Paws and Whiskers Cat Shelter was diagnosed with panleukopenia, commonly called feline distemper. The virus, which can be fatal, is the equivalent of canine parvovirus and typically presents with vomiting and diarrhea.

A cat can shed the virus before showing any symptoms.

Two dozen kittens were exposed, all of which had been housed in an isolation room while being treated for ringworm. The first kitten to develop panleukopenia is still hospitalized, but is stable. Another that tested positive for the virus died, and a second kitten that tested negative died of pneumonia.

Kim Ferguson, kennel supervisor, said the 21 other kittens are now being housed and cared for in a neighboring building. None of the cats in the main adoption area were exposed, nor did any show signs of illness, but the entire shelter was deep-cleaned and sterilized with the help of volunteers.

The shelter is open for adoptions, but will not accept cats or kittens for the next two to three weeks unless proof of vaccinations is shown.

Paws and Whiskers requests non-clumping cat litter, wet kitten food, and disposable medical gear such as paper gowns, face masks, gloves, and booties. To donate items or volunteer, email pawsandwhiskers1@aol.com or call 419-536-1914.

The shelter also seeks donations for veterinary bills, which can be made online at pawsandwhiskers.org, or by mailing a check to the shelter at 32 Hillwyck Dr., Toledo, 43615.

Contact Alexandra Mester: amester@theblade.com, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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