New Brunswick

Virus puts cat adoptions on hold at the Greater Moncton SPCA

Cat adoptions at the Greater Moncton SPCA have ground to a halt because of an outbreak of respiratory infection.

Organization dealing with outbreak of respiratory infection among 150 cats

A pair of kittens remain under quarantine as the Greater Moncton SPCA deals with a respiratory infection in the cat population. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

Cat adoptions at the Greater Moncton SPCA remain on hold, as the organization deals with an outbreak of respiratory infection.

Heather Smith is a team leader at the Greater Moncton SPCA and says for the last 10 days the cat rooms have all been under quarantine and closed to the public.

She said some of the cats have calicivirus, one of the main causes of respiratory infections in cats.

"It's kind of like a cat cold," Smith said. "Think of yourself getting, like, a chest cold. We do see it here relatively frequently."

The Greater Moncton SPCA is looking after more than 150 kittens and cats, and none of them can be adopted yet because of a virus. 0:43

Smith said the cats are being treated with antibiotics and immune boosters and put under quarantine for 10 days.

"We've seen a lot of improvement. Most of the cats are doing well. We're going to stay closed this week."  

Smith said the animal shelter will reassess the cats next Monday.

It's been a challenging few months for the shelter.

Heather Smith, a team leader at the Greater Moncton SPCA, says that 10 days of quarantine and treatment, most of the cats are doing well. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

At the beginning of September, the SPCA had taken in about 300 cats, forcing the organization to offer discounts on adoption fees, and to find enough space to house all the cats.

Adoptions picked up, reducing the number of cats to 189.

But with the respiratory infection, adoptions have stopped. 

Cat adoptions will remain on hold this week. Smith says officials will reassess the situation on Monday. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

There are now more than 150 cats at the SPCA.

Smith said it's been hard for the staff, with the extra work of cleaning and treating the cats.

"It's a financial strain.Treating all these cats is expensive but it's important. We want to provide the best care for our animals, we want to have successful adoptions happy cats and happy adopters." 

Some local groups and businesses are raising money to help offset the cost of the extra expenses and the lost adoption fees.

Kittens takes a nap at the Greater Moncton SPCA. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News )

The current SPCA building is old and crowded, and a newer, state-of-the-art building could help prevent outbreaks like the one the shelter is experiencing now, Smith said.

"It is a common virus in shelter environments, it is viral," she said. "So if one guy gets it and they're sneezing, it just kind of spreads throughout.

"I mean, that's why it's so important — we're fundraising for a new building, so that we can hopefully cut back on this stuff with better air quality and adoption rooms and isolation areas."

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