NEW YORK – More than 450 cats are now in quarantine in a Queens Animal Care Center after being exposed to the avian flu virus, officials stated on Thursday.
The cats were taken from ACC shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island just last week after showing symptoms of the terrible illness. The felines will be undergoing lab tests and remain quarantined in the temporary shelter for between 45 to 90 days.
“Responders from the ASPCA, the ACC, and other agencies are working around the clock to safely monitor and care for these cats,” stated ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker in a statement. “Once the cats are healthy and no longer contagious, we’ll do everything we can to help them find homes.”
People who actually adopted cats from ACC shelters between Nov. 12 and Dec. 15 are being encouraged to monitor their pets for flu-like symptoms, which include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and runny or red eyes.
If a cat shows these symptoms, owners are advised to take them to a veterinarian immediately and explain that the pet may have been exposed to the H7N2 virus.
Most kitties suffer mild flu-like symptoms and recover fully, officials stated.
The influenza is mainly found in birds, however, sometimes mutates – affecting mammals.
It was not immediately clear just why exactly the flu mutated and spread so quickly across the city last fall.