Humane Society ceases cat adoptions after two kittens die

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton has shut down all cat adoption operations for two weeks after two abandoned kittens died from a highly contagious disease.

The rescue is known for taking in animals that are surrendered, often dropped on their doorstep. However, 20 cats were abandoned this week at the front entrance and attached dog park over the span of 24 hours.

Staff first stumbled across two litters of kittens at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. One of the litters showed signs of sickness and were covered in fleas but were treated by the veterinary team. For the next 24 hours, 10 more cats were abandoned on Humane Society property.

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The kittens were put into foster homes after receiving treatment. However, 24 hours after they were found, one of the litters began showing signs of the Feline panleukopenia virus, or feline distemper.

“We take highly contagious diseases extremely seriously and as protocol we close areas of our building in order to treat animals or prevent the spread of a disease that can affect the health of other animals,” Jodi Rettig, Humane Society volunteer coordinator, said in an email.

Panleukopenia is a highly contagious and deadly disease in the cat population. Kittens between the ages of two to six months are at the highest risk of developing severe symptoms, such as brain damage.

Although cats at the Humane Society are vaccinated for the disease, the shelter has closed all adoptions and cat intake to prevent potentially spreading the virus to other populations.

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“It’s a very contagious illness for cats. All of our cats our vaccinated but it’s important to be precautionary and monitor them,” said Jessica Garringer, marketing and development project manager for the Humane Society.

The affected cats are currently receiving round-the-clock care at a 24-hour emergency clinic and three kittens are in critical care. The care is estimated to cost the shelter thousands of dollars.

“We are all saddened by the events that have transpired over the past 24 hours,” said Brian Weltge, president and CEO of the Humane Society. “This reiterates why it is so crucial for people to work with us to bring cats in through the proper channels. As a limited-intake facility we know we may not be able to immediately take in your cats, but we do have options for you.”

The Humane Society is currently accepting donations from the public. These funds will directly help the cost of care for the cats. To donate, visit

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