October 15, 2020

The Humane Society of Cambria County (HSCC) has detected a viral outbreak within our intake cat population causing a two week quarantine period, effective October 13th. No cats or kittens are permitted to leave or enter the shelter during this time, ceasing all cat and kitten adoptions and intakes.

Symptoms were detected earlier this week as a kitten within our intake population who had been placed in a foster home started to decline and was transported to a local veterinarian. By Tuesday morning we had deemed these symptoms part of a viral outbreak. Upon veterinary advice, for the safety of the cats and kittens in our care and community, HSCC has temporarily closed our cat room to the public to prevent any further spread of the virus.

Today, we have determined the viral outbreak within our intake cat population to be Feline Panleukopenia (FP) also known as Feline Distemper or Feline Parvo from an in-house test performed by a local veterinarian. The virus infects and kills the body’s defense cells. FP should not be confused with Canine Distemper or Canine Parvo as they are caused by different viruses, and FP cannot infect people.

Our entire cat population will remain under close observation of staff and those infected or showing symptoms of the virus will remain in isolation during the two week quarantine period. Cats or kittens determined to be infected will remain under treatment of veterinarian staff. Because FP lives within the environment, essentially all cats and kittens are exposed to the virus at some point of their lives. The virus has been most commonly found within animal kennel and shelter environments, unvaccinated feral cat colonies, or other areas where groups of cats are housed together.

The best way to prevent FP is to take the proper steps to vaccinate your cat. By vaccinating your cat, you are providing protection against illness and deadly viruses and diseases. Kittens should be vaccinated as early as six to eight weeks old, and adult cats should be vaccinated, dependent on their age and health, throughout their life. Vaccines are equally as important for indoor cats as they are for outdoor cats since FP can exist anywhere in the environment.

Due to the age of the kitten who had contracted FP we do not believe the kitten had received any preventative measures prior to entering our shelter. And, by the time animals enter our shelter, without medical treatment for any time period, sometimes months or even years, our efforts to administer medical preventative care may not make a difference. Unfortunately, situations like these are a risk that any animal shelter may encounter with little to no medical history on incoming animals.

Once diagnosed with FP, there are no medications capable of killing the virus. Intensive care and treatment of medications and fluids are critical to support the infected cat’s health until, ultimately, the cat’s body and immune system is capable of fighting off the virus. Treatment focuses on correcting dehydration, providing nutrients, and preventing secondary infection. With supportive care and treatment chances of survival are higher, however, not guaranteed.

Due to the increased safety and sanitary measures our staff must take throughout the quarantine period, HSCC is in need of bleach, liquid laundry detergent, and monetary donations. Monetary donations can be made here: HELP OUR CATS!

During this time, our dog room will remain open, and dog adoptions and intakes will function as normal.

Those who have recently adopted a cat or kitten from our shelter should not be alarmed about their new pet. While the HSCC encourages adopters to monitor their cat or kitten for the next two weeks, adopters can trust that the health of their new pet was evaluated prior to being placed for adoption. As well, adoptable pets receive a schedule of vaccinations prior to adoption to protect their well being. Adopters with concerns or questions may contact the shelter staff at 814-535-6116 or their veterinarian.

HSCC will continue to accept and process adoption applications for our cats and kittens throughout the quarantine period. Potential adopters will be contacted throughout this timeframe as to the status of their application. Once the quarantine is lifted, HSCC will resume adoptions as normal.

Individuals who need to place a cat during our two week quarantine are encouraged to contact surrounding rescues and shelters.