SANDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJMN) – The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (UPAWS) is requesting support following recent illnesses in cats and kittens at the shelter. UPAWS says that tests revealed the cats were afflicted by Panleukopenia and Bordetella.

UPAWS shared the following message about the development in a Facebook post:

Dear Friends of UPAWS,

Two weeks ago, we had some cats and kittens become ill that quickly degraded and sadly passed away at the shelter. We found that this quickly spread to some other felines, and after a few more deaths, we decided we needed to be closed to the public. We sent a few of these cats to Michigan State University for testing so we could know what we were dealing with and how we needed to proceed. We have been working diligently with our local veterinarians, and our staff has been doing everything possible to save these felines’ lives.

The preliminary results came back with two major offenders – Panleukopenia and Bordetella.

Panleukopenia is a very contagious virus that can be spread through cats and kittens by urine, stool, nasal discharge, and even fleas. There is no cure for this disease. The best way to protect your cat is to get them vaccinated by your veterinarian and keep the cats up to date! Kittens must be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until they are at least 14 to 16 weeks of age. Adult cats should be on a vaccine booster schedule that is best worked out with your veterinarian.

If you have kittens 6-8 weeks of age, now is the time to start their vaccines!

Most people probably recognize Bordetella as a bacterium that causes kennel cough in dogs; however, cats can get it also. The infected cat’s respiratory system was compromised, causing sneezing, and we believe this is also how this virus spread throughout the shelter.

None of the other animals, outside of the ill felines, have been sick or affected, and these animals are healthy and adoptable.

This has been physically and emotionally tolling on the staff of UPAWS. If you wish to support us, please consider a donation from our Wish List (Link below) or Donate Link.

We want to thank you all for understanding and your support in this trying time.

If you would like to donate to UPAWS, you can do so at the following locations:

You can click these links to learn more about Panleukopenia and Bordetella.