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Help us save 101 cats affected by virus

The spread of virulent systemic feline calicivirus (VS-FCV) has slowed at the Humane Society of Indianapolis (HSI), and the effects of the mutated virus, whose common strain is vaccinated for at the shelter, have lessened in intensity within the past day. We hope to save our remaining 114 cats after euthanizing 65 who suffered symptoms of the disease within the past 10 days. Three cats who were not exposed to the mutant strain of VS-FCV are in foster care and available for adoption, and we’re seeking supply donations to help the others through the two- to six-week quarantine period.

If you’d like to help us save our 100+ remaining cats and make them comfortable during the quarantine period, please donate any of the following to our shelter, located at 7929 Michigan Rd.

can openers & canned tuna, paper towels, bleach, vaporizers (to add moisture to the air), bleach disinfecting wipes, green scour pads, garbage bags (56 gallon and tall kitchen), disposable latex gloves (surgical style), disposable restaurant style gloves (thin clear plastic), disposable shoe covers, medical scrubs, old bath towels and sheets, canned cat food, litter, cat scratchers, cat toys

Our veterinary team took immediate action upon discovering VS-FCV, which rapidly mutated and affected the majority of the cats in the shelter. Those who were euthanized suffered severe, rapidly formed symptoms such as oral ulcers, swollen limbs, crusting of the face, hair loss, and temperatures of up to 106 degrees, and some were nearing stages of pneumonia and not eating.

“Our veterinary staff has discussed the situation at length with vets at both Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in order to follow best lifesaving protocols,” says Christine Jeschke, Director of Shelter Operations. “They confirmed that we are following recommended vaccine and disinfecting protocols, and this outbreak was not the result of anything we did or did not do.”

We have 114 cats and will provide supportive care and pain medication to those affected by the virus, which has lessened in intensity and does not affect dogs or humans. Ten of the cats appear in good health and unaffected by the virus, and will possibly be available for adoption after a two-week quarantine is lifted. Three cats who were not exposed to the mutated virus in the shelter remain available for adoption in foster homes and can be viewed on our Available Cats page. We will attempt to save the remaining 101 cats and will provide intensive medical care for the next 6 weeks, during which time it’s expected the virus will die off or mutate back to its original, vaccinated strain.

Though we’ve ceased intake of stray and surrendered cats during the quarantine, we continue to provide adoption services for dogs, and the pet park, pet retail store, and dog training classes remain open. The scheduled microchipping event for cats and dogs and book signing this coming Saturday will still take place in the Canine Training School, which is safe and has been disinfected as an extra precaution. We encourage you to consider our animal-welfare partners Southside Animal Shelter, ARPO, Cats Haven, and Indianapolis Animal Care and Control if you’re interested in adopting a cat other than the few we have available.

Read more about VS-FCV.