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As part of the Million Cat Challenge, the WHS is working with UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to implement changes to the way cats with URI (cat cold) symptoms are cared for.

URI cannot be eliminated from the shelter, but there are effective and life-saving methods to manage it. Stress is the main cause of URI within a shelter setting. What we can do is eliminate as much stress as possible by making a cat’s stay at the shelter as comfortable as we can.

All incoming cats are now provided double caging. These cages increase the cat’s floor space and provide a place to hide, a hard surface, a soft surface, scratching area, and keep the cat’s food/water separate from the litter box. The amount of floor space a cat has in the first seven days at the shelter plays a big role in whether a cat gets sick with URI.

If a cat in adoptions displays mild symptoms of the cat cold (occasional sneezing, clear eye discharge, no nasal discharge), they will remain available to adopt with a sign on their kennel door. If the cat is showing moderate symptoms (frequent sneezing, nasal discharge, and not eating) they will be taken to the back and cared for in medical holding until the symptoms improve.

The support we have received from our supporters, volunteers, and staff has been phenomenal. A sincere thank you to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the Million Cat Challenge for its support and guidance.

These changes have been implemented in shelters across North America and are proven effective. If you have any other questions or concerns about these new changes, we’d be happy to answer them for you. Please e-mail us.