No herpes-infected cats adopted

Published 2:01 pm Friday, February 3, 2012

The Isle of Wight County Animal Shelter has received several calls this week in reference to adopting the 16 cats at the shelter diagnosed with feline herpes virus.

In all 30 cats were diagnosed, but 16 were adopted by volunteers of the Isle of Wight County Humane Society, said Dawn Morris, an adoption coordinator with the no-kill organization. The group plans to provide foster homes for the cats until they are adopted.

“We went out there first to take as many as we could,” Morris said. “We’ve spread them out among volunteers’ homes.”

Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Kristin Wilda said the county shelter has received at least seven calls from residents inquiring about the infected cats and several who say they plan to adopt, although none of the remaining felines have been adopted yet.

“We do believe some will be adopted,” Wilda said.

The cats that are not adopted by Sunday, Feb. 5 will be put down in order to allow shelter officials to decontaminate it for a period of at least 45 days.

As of 3:37 p.m. Thursday, Wilda had no word on whether the deadline would be extended due to the increase in interest.

The county shelter on Poor House Road, across from the Isle of Wight County Courthouse complex is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Morris said the symptoms of feline herpes virus are compounded in a shelter environment because stress makes an outbreak of symptoms including runny nose, runny eyes, upper respiratory infections and ulcers on the face more likely.

She said the chances of an outbreak are reduced when a cat is in a home environment and the stress is reduced.

“They’re just going to get worse in a shelter,” Morris said. “Outbreaks are less likely if taken home. Usually all you will see is runny eyes.”

Morris said Humane Society volunteers are treating the cats with antibiotics to relieve the respiratory symptoms and are also giving the cats a supplement called L-Lysine that is designed to boost the immune system.

Anyone interested in adopting a cat may call the animal shelter at 365-6318.