Nassau Humane Society cattery temporarily closed as precaution against virus

Nassau Humane Society
Press Release
May 25, 2021

In an abundance of caution, the Nassau Humane Society has temporarily closed its cattery to prevent the spread of a contagious feline disease, panleukopenia.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus. Kittens are most severely affected by the virus, which is also called feline distemper.

“In an abundance of care and precaution, we have decided to close our cattery for one month,” NHS Executive Director Debbie Chissell said. “This will allow us to treat and care for the cats currently residing with us and benefit all future cats that will be coming through our doors.”

NHS will not be able to accept surrendered cats during this time. If you need to surrender or have found a stray or injured cat, please contact Nassau County Animal Services at (904) 530-6150.

Dr. Mandy Kulbel, NHS’s veterinarian, said the shelter recently received two litters of young kittens who tested positive for panleukopenia virus while at NHS’s intake facility. A number of the kittens passed away, she said.

“Once we realized the cause, unfortunately, due to the highly contagious nature and high morbidity associated with this virus, the few remaining kittens were euthanized. All were very ill and this was the best course of action for their comfort,” she said.

Because of the possibility of contamination, all cats at the shelter have been tested and are currently isolated from each other in a 2-week quarantine, per recommended guidelines, Dr. Kulbel said.

NHS vaccinates all cats and kittens who are old enough when they arrive at the shelter. Kittens are the population at highest risk, while vaccinated adults should be protected, she said.

During the quarantine period, the shelter is undergoing a rigorous cleaning protocol and disinfecting and bleaching all its cat rooms.

“Our goal is to prevent any further spread and possible loss of life,” Dr. Kulbel said. “Please be patient with us while we take every precaution we can to protect our feline friends.”

The shelter remains open for dog adoptions, which are not affected.

NHS has reached out to everyone who adopted a cat within the last 30 days to make them aware, said Stephanie Miller, Director of Adoption. “We ask if anyone has any questions or concerns to call us at (904) 321-1647 or email [email protected].”

“Nassau Humane Society rescues dogs and cats from more than nine rescue partners and kill facilities up and down the East Coast, with the mission of alleviating pain and suffering in overcrowded shelters and to provide homeless animals with a second chance at life and a permanent loving home,” Chissell said. “NHS is, and continues to be, thankful to our wonderful community for their support during this time.”