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Virus forces Haworth cat rescue centre lockdown
8:00am Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
A cat rescue centre will have to close its doors for more than a month after tests revealed it has been hit by an outbreak of a virus that has already claimed the lives of several kittens.
Yorkshire Cat Rescue, based in Haworth, will now be unable to take in any cats after vets ordered it be placed on lockdown until next month to prevent the spread of feline panleukopenia virus.
The charity, already struggling with record high numbers of abandoned cats this year, is now in the process of getting all its cats vaccinated, as well as deep-cleaning the centre.
A charity spokesman said: “To date, Yorkshire Cat Rescue has lost several kittens to the virus – four are currently undergoing treatment, six have recovered following intensive veterinary treatment and 46 cats remain on site and in full quarantine.”
The illness can easily be prevented by vaccinations, but with many cats dumped at the charity’s doors, they have no way of knowing if they have been inoculated.
Although the cats will be kept in quarantine at the centre for another month, the charity currently has 97 in temporary foster that have not been exposed to the virus but still need to be re-homed.
Founder Sara Atkinson said: “These are very challenging times, but the health and safety of the cats in our care is absolutely paramount.
“Our vets are working with us to ensure any affected cats or kittens receive the best possible treatment, giving them every possible chance of surviving.
“Assuming no further outbreaks take place, we will be opening again after October 7. Until then, it is all hands on deck to ensure the virus is contained and eradicated.
“This is a very serious situation, and we are urging anyone contemplating giving up their cats to not bring them down to the centre. However desperate their situation, it simply isn’t safe.”
People can visit the charity’s website or Facebook page if they want to arrange to see any of the cats in foster care.
Mrs Atkinson added: “We have had to throw away all our bedding to be on the safe side, so donations of old towels at our charity shop in Keighley are greatly appreciated.
“Our vet bill will be going through the roof so, from the bottom of my heart, I’m appealing for donations and to anyone who can manage to host fundraising events in our name.
“We will get through this but, in the middle of our busiest-ever year, it is a huge blow and we can really use all the help we can get.”
The charity has assured the public the virus had not infected any cats that have recently been re-homed.
Regular updates will be posted on the charity’s website and Facebook page. Call (01535) 647184 for further information.
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