Animal Shelter Cat Operations

TAVARES– The Lake County Animal Shelter has stopped accepting cats, due to a small number of felines that just testing positive for a highly contagious infectious virus. The shelter in Tavares has temporarily suspended its feline programs and is now looking for cat foster parents to help out.

“The shelter urgently needs additional supplies, such as towels and sheets, due to contamination,” Lake County government noted in a release.

What Caused the Suspension of Cats Programs?

The Lake County Animal Shelter has a program called TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return) which aims to trap cats and get them treated at the shelter, including neutering and vaccinations. Recently a litter of kittens was brought to the shelter for its “Wait-til- 8” program. It was while providing care for those kittens that they tested positive for panleukopenia, a highly contagious viral disease.

“Kittens and immunocompromised or unvaccinated cats are most severely affected by the virus,” Lake County government noted. “Panleukopenia does not affect people or other animals. A vaccination for the virus is available and part of a cat’s routine veterinary care. Cats who are immunized for the virus have a lower chance of infection.”

Through contact tracing, the shelter is working to identify any felines in their care that may have been exposed to the virus. Those shelter is also notifying anyone who recently adopted cats there about the potential exposure risk.

“Out of an abundance of caution, cats remaining in the shelter will be quarantined for at least the next two weeks,” the county government noted, and has suspended cat operations, including adoptions.

How Can You Help the Lake County Animal Shelter?

The animal shelter does plan to provide support to residents who find kittens that need assistance through their  Wait-til-8 program. It provides free vaccinations, food, and supplies to temporary foster parents to help keep high-risk kittens in safer environments.

In the meantime, county residents are being encouraged to “shelter in place” by not surrendering any adult cats or kittens at the shelter, which will “only accept cats in immediate need of care and will shelter them off site at another facility until the quarantine is over. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Animal Enforcement team can assist with sick or injured cats found in the community.” 

To donate supplies, drop off the items at the front door of the facility at 12280 County Road 448, Tavares To register for the shelter’s foster program to help shelter cats that have not been exposed, visit https://www.lakecountyfl.gov/Animal-Shelter/Foster.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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