County animal shelter suspends feline intake due to virus

Posted on January 29, 2019 by Staff reports

Effective immediately, the Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter is suspending its intake and adoption of cats and kittens for a minimum of two weeks after a cat tested positive for feline panleukopenia (FP). Additionally, the drop boxes located outside the facility are closed until further notice. Persons who are seeking a lost cat should still visit the shelter to claim their pet. Lost cats can viewed online at Those wanting to surrender a cat are encouraged to research area rescues. The cats and kittens currently being sheltered will be quarantined while the facility is treated.

“We are in a multi-tiered process of sanitizing quarantine areas while closely monitoring the cats and kittens we have for any symptoms,” said Dr. Megan Arevalo, shelter veterinarian. “As a county shelter, we have residents surrender animals to us that unfortunately are not always healthy. It’s a very sad situation but we are providing them with the best possible care during this process.”

The shelter is in the process of implementing new protocols to minimize the risk of contagious diseases. Cats and kittens are now vaccinated on intake but not fully protected until they have received a booster. Proper and timely vaccinations are the best defense against FP. As part of the adoption process at the shelter, staff instruct all new pet owners to take their adopted animal to a vet as soon as possible for an examination.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, FP is a highly contagious viral disease caused by the feline parvovirus. Feline parvo should not be confused with canine parvo; although the name is similar, it is caused by different viruses. Kittens, due to their weaker immune systems, are most severely affected. The virus does not infect people.

Persons wishing to assist the shelter during this process are asked to donate metal litter boxes which are easier to disinfect than those made of plastic. The shelter maintains a list of needed items on For more information, call 850-983-4680.