Animal Shelter and Rescue Questions Answered

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Animal Shelter and Rescue Questions Answered

Question: I hope you can help me; I am looking for some info on cat germs. I volunteer at my local animal shelter and we have a small problem. The shelter has had “cat trees” donated from time to time. We are unable to use them because we do not know how to kill the germs that may be hiding on them. Some are made with carpet and some are wrapped with rope.  My question is, if we put them in a freezer for a few days will the cold kill “all” the germs? If you know of any cat germ or worms that may live through freezing could you let me know what they are? Thank you. Troy Davis

Answer: We don’t use fabric, carpet or jute in our cat room either.  Many if not all adult cats ‘shed’ upper respiratory virus and any other virus they are not showing clinical signs for.  You can’t trap a virus on linoleum or hard surfaces that you clean well.  You can NOT clean a stationary fabric, carpet or jute surface well enough to kill a virus.  It’s a much better idea to use blankets and cuddly things that can be thrown in the washer with a little bleach every day or so.  Our shelter cats are never vaccinated well enough to protect for all the stressors they face.  Immune systems are always diminished by stress – crowding, visitors, cranky kitty residents, food sharing, litter material, loud noise, cold, hot, smell, and  music.  What is soothing for one cat will be a stressor for another.  Vaccinate but do NOT count on vaccines to prevent outbreaks in your cat room.

Tami McReynolds, DVM

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