|Bob, just one of the many kittens looking for a new home|
RSPCA NSW is treating more cats with cat flu than ever before, with the Sydney and Hunter shelters at capacity with dozens of recovered felines needing homes right now.
“Cat flu is one of the most misunderstood illnesses, with many potential owners instantly dismissing an adoption animal once they hear it has been sick,” said RSPCA NSW Chief Veterinarian Magdoline Awad.
“In reality, cat flu is much like the human flu — it makes you sniffly, sneezy, tired and off your food. But with rest, TLC and occasionally the need for some medication it clears up,” she said.
The flu can be passed on through sneezing and mucous. It is also possible for kittens to be exposed to the virus prior to or soon after birth.
As the RSPCA Sydney Shelter continues to undergo major renovations the capacity to nurse these cats back to full health has improved, but following a particularly heavy cat breeding season space is at a premium.
“It’s like a bug in a childcare centre, when one child comes in sick others invariably pick it up as well. The same applies with cat flu, an overwhelming population of kittens and young cats, with no previous vaccinations come into a new environment with all the added stresses. Whilst we vaccinate all animals on arrival, some still succumb to cat flu — albeit a milder form of the disease,” said Dr Awad.
When rehoming these cats, RSPCA NSW has a duty of care to let people know they have been treated for flu, as there is a small chance it could be contagious to other cats already in the home. “Many owned cats in the home are vaccinated, in good health and living in a less stressful environment than a shelter, so the likelihood of catching the flu is minimal and if they do, it is often very mild,” Dr Awad said.
Like people, cats may relapse in times of stress or when they are affected by another illness.
“One of the best things to do for a newly recovered kitten is get it into a home as soon as possible,” Dr Awad said. “Once there, they can start socialising with people, settle in to the home where the environment is less stressful, feel calmer, rest and rejuvenate to stay healthy and happy.”
Visit www.adoptapet.com.au to view all of the cats and kittens currently available for adoption.