QUARANTINE FACILITIES AT CATTERIES:
Does your cattery have adequate quarantine facilities? Have you ever asked to see them? What happens to your cat if it gets sick while at the cattery? Where would it be housed away from the other cats?
Infectious diseases are a threat to any boarding facility no matter how clean and how well run. A responsible cattery owner will ensure they have separate, comfortable quarantine facilities where a sick cat can be housed and properly cared for. Most cat illnesses are highly contagious so it is imperative that the cat is isolated as soon as any illness is discovered and appropriate veterinary treatment is sought.
Many cat owners don’t realise that vaccinations do not provide 100% protection against infectious diseases in a pet boarding environment. Owners should understand that the risk of their cat developing cat flu is only reduced by regular vaccination, and will only lessen the severity of the disease if contracted. There are no drugs that will kill the viruses, so treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms until the cat recovers of its own accord.
Stress in pets when separated from their owners is one of the major triggers for illness. It is thought that around 50% of stressed boarders will shed the herpes flu virus within 2 – 10 days of being at the cattery.
Another known fact is that most cats will be carriers of the herpes virus especially if they have come from a breeder or shelter. These “silent” shredders look outwardly normal, have been fully vaccinated and are yet highly infectious to other boarders.
Feline Herpesvirus and Feline Calicivirus are both causes of cat flu and are spread via both direct contact (eye, nose and mouth discharge), or indirect contact (food/water bowls, bedding, grooming brushes, litter trays, clothing). One of the reasons I am vehemently against communal catteries. It is totally irresponsible to be boarding cats in a communal environment. A communal environment is stressful to cats. Stress causes illness.
In New Zealand the AsureQaulity Cattery Code of Practice recommends that approximately 10% of boarding capacity is made available for quarantine. A separate building is preferable.
Ashley Boarding Cattery has brand new warm and comfortable quarantine facilities in a separate two room building away from the main cattery. Six units in total: four in one room and two in another; purposely built this way so that we can house perfectly healthy, unvaccinated cats away from sick cats.
As a cat owner, boarding your cat at a reputable facility reduces the risk of illness to your cat enormously, however it is also beneficial to all involved if owners also understand a little about how vaccinations work and the basic characteristics of feline diseases.