Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 23, 2013

Mercer County Animal Shelter’s new cages will keep cats healthier

By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Changes in cat accommodations have been made at the Mercer County Animal Shelter to help keep disease from spreading among felines in need of a new home.

In late June, the shelter faced the possibility of euthanizing cats because a respiratory infection had spread among them. The cat area had to be cleared out before it could be sanitized. Fortunately, the cats were adopted, moved to foster homes, or into rescue organizations before any cats had to be put down.

The shelter recently received advice from Dr. Kate Hurley, DVM, with the University of California, who was contacted on Facebook after the problems experienced last June, said Animal Control Office Tracy Monninger. The veterinarian’s suggests have made an impact already.

“She’s very knowledgeable,” Monninger said. “She gave us some great ideas, and we’ve noticed a great impact in our cat room.”

One particular piece of advice involved keeping diseases away from the shelter’s cats.

“She said we should never introduce a sick cat into a healthy population,” Monninger said.

If a cat brought to the shelter appears to be ill, the shelter will see if a veterinarian can treat it, Monninger said. Cats would be euthanized if a veterinarian determines that treatment will not help it.

“We have a good bunch of folks to vet our animals,” she said.   

“She (Hurley) said that cats don’t like to eat where they have to use a litter box,” said Commissioner Mike Vinciguerra, president of the Mercer County Commission.

Using Hurley’s advice, the cat cages are being divided so their food, water and litter box are in different sections, said Director Lisa Williams.

The length of time dogs and cats are housed at the animal shelter before they face the possibility of euthanasia has not changed, Vinciguerra said.

Both dogs and cats are housed for 10 days, and an animal’s first day at the shelter, and Sundays and holidays are not counted.

Under West Virginia State Code, dogs and cats at animal shelters are to be kept for five days, Vinciguerra said. The county keeps them for twice as long.