The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County is temporarily halting cat adoptions after several cats tested positive for Feline panleukopenia, a highly contagious viral disease of cats.

No cat adoptions will be allowed for at least seven days and possibly up to two weeks, which is the incubation period for the virus. 

Feline panleukopenia (FP) attacks the animal’s intestinal tract causing dehydration, bloody diarrhea, debilitation, and sudden death. The virus does not infect people.

The Humane Society said the virus made its way into the shelter after an owner surrendered seven older cats on February 3.

“The first sickness was discovered on Friday, and the decision to halt cat adoptions was made immediately after other cats from the same group tested positive. The shelter is reaching out to inform everyone that has adopted or reclaimed cats that were possibly exposed,” said Stuart Earley, CEO of the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County.

The shelter said it is undergoing a deep clean of the potentially infected areas and parts of the building will be under quarantine.

Anyone who adopted a cat from the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County since February 3 should watch for symptoms of FP including diarrhea, severe weight loss, vomiting, and lethargy. Any cats that show symptoms should be immediately taken to a veterinarian for treatment. Without medical care, the Humane Society says panleukopenia is “usually fatal.”

Earley said the shelter will not be able to receive any cats from the public and will not be able to allow cat adoptions during the quarantine. 

However, the shelter will still be open to the public and dog, rabbit, and all other animals will be available for adoption.

For more information, visit the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County’s website.