You can’t adopt a cat at the humane society right now, but why?

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Wisconsin Humane Society

RACINE (WITI) — The Wisconsin Humane Society(WHS) announced Thursday August 21st, that it will be temporarily suspending cat adoptions until September 2nd at its Racine campus.  This comes after four cats tested positive for Feline Panluekopenia Virus (FPV), a contagious and often fatal disease.

Veterinary staff suspect that an adult stray cat brought the disease into the shelter on August 7th and infected others. All four of the cats who were FPV positive were either humanely euthanized or died from the disease.

Outside of the four cats that tested positive for FPV, no other cats have passed away. Angela Speed, from the Wisconsin Humane Society said that this is not an outbreak of FPV, but did caution that it is a serious disease with at least a 90% fatality rate if contracted by cats. FOX6 News is told that the four cats that contracted FPV were all strays and kittens.

There were only four cases of FPV discovered out of the 116 cats being housed at the Racine campus.

“While this is very rare incident for us, we can’t be too careful when dealing with a virus as serious as panleukopenia. Aside from the four cats who tested positive for the virus, we have a few other suspicious cases, so we are erring on the side of caution by temporarily suspending cat adoptions at Racine pending test results,” said Dr. Nancy Weiss, Director of Veterinary Services at the Wisconsin Humane Society.

Shelter staff will be performing testing to determine which cats have the necessary antibodies to be protected against the virus. Some of those cats may be released for adoptions at WHS’s other locations. All others will be held for observation to be sure they are not incubating FPV.

“We vaccinate upon intake at our shelters, so most of the cats should be protected. But there is a small window before vaccination during which a cat could be exposed, and in addition, some kittens may not be fully protected even after the first vaccine,” said Weiss.

While humane society officials don’t expect the illness to affect cats recently adopted from the Racine campus, they are advising people to watch for signs that include lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea, and to contact a veterinarian and WHS if the cat does display those signs.

CLICK HERE for a full schedule of vaccine clinics at the Milwaukee, Racine and Ozaukee campuses.

All other dog and small animal adoptions are unaffected, as the virus is not transmissible to animals other than cats.

Adoptions at the Milwaukee and Ozaukee campuses will remain open as usual.

The shelter requests that individuals needing to surrender their animal make an appointment to do so by calling 262-554-6699.