How Many Animal Shelters Have Quarantine Rooms?

Quarantine rooms are obviously important for cat shelters where lots of cats are together in a relatively small space which promotes the transmission of disease. If you adopt a cat from a rescue center should you ask whether they have a quarantine room?

Quarantine room

Quarantine room “..quarantine space for sick cats and a quiet area for nursing mothers and their young litters” (Grosse Ile Animal Shelter). I don’t understand that because I don’t understand how a quarantine room can include healthy nursing mothers.

The Animal Friends Connection Humane Society has a separate quarantine area. The shelter quarantines new cats to ensure that they are healthy before they are transferred to the adoption center proper where they are placed with new guardians. The cats are kept in the quarantine room to 12 days to ensure that they do not have upper respiratory infections or other medical problems.

The cats are also spayed or neutered, tested for feline leukaemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus. Vaccinations are started and the cats are also de-wormed and treated for fleas. Excellent work by the sound of it.

The Rowan County Animal Shelter are in the process of trying to limit disease transmission amongst their stray cats by creating a quarantine room. This is a new step. Because it is a new process for this shelter, it got me thinking about how many other shelters have quarantine rooms.

The Rowan County Animal Shelter have converted their facility’s food room to a quarantine room. The supervisor, Clai Martin, wisely says that their new quarantine room and the concrete walls may help to keep down diseases at the shelter, which is of particular concern to the supervisor at the moment because they are having problems with disease transmission amongst the cats.

Jessica Maine, in Hawaii, USA suggested that the feline herpesvirus is an increasing problem in breeding categories in the USA. Breeding catteries like shelters have the same sort of problem: animals close together.

Kelly in Florida bought a Bengal cat from a breeder. The cat died of feline infectious peritonitis about 5 weeks later. It was a classic case of how things can go wrong when you purchase from a breeder have not got things right.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is at its most dangerous in multi-cat households, shelters, sanctuaries, catteries and boarding establishments. The dried virus can survive for weeks in the environment but it can be killed with household disinfectant. A new cat arriving at a multi-cat environment can be isolated to 2 weeks and tested for FIP. The problem is that a healthy cat that tests positive for the coronavirus should not be removed because you cannot tell if the virus is the benign or virulent form from a corona virus titre.

As for the feline immunodeficiency virus, all cats in a multi-cat environment should be tested. Cats who test positive should be removed or isolated from contact with others.

One can readily see the benefits of a quarantine area at the shelter. How many shelters have them?

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How Many Animal Shelters Have Quarantine Rooms? — 11 Comments

  1. Would that ALL shelters had these rooms. It is so essential to separate cats for at least two weeks.

    These shelters are doing a fantastic job. Many shelters here in the USA are so overloaded it’s a wonder that they can find room anywhere for surrendered kitties (or dogs).

    Excellent article as always!

  2. I doubt that any county shelter here in Florida has such a thing. If it should be created, I don’t see the animals being spayed/ neutered, tested, or vaccinated. I see it more as a “holding cell” situation in order to determine if any may be suitable for adoption down the road. They aren’t going to “waste” time and money only to kill at the end of the 2 week period, regardless of whether the animal is healthy or not.
    It’s more likely to be found in a no-kill shelter somewhere if they really are no-kill.

    • You make a point that I hadn’t realised, which is that if the shelter is oversubscribed with cats meaning there are too many cats anyway, a quarantine room is less useful because it means more work and if it is discovered that the cat is healthy at the end of the quarantine period but it is unlikely that the cat will find a home, there is little reason to start the quarantine process.

      Under normal or ideal situations a quarantine room would seem to be essential but under stressed situations where a shelter can barely cope then it is less useful, it seems to me.

    • Dee.. absolutely RIGHT ON!

      It is a damned shame in fact.

      I do believe that no-kill shelters are more prudent. They can be because so many of their pets are in foster homes where they can be quaranteened and receive any medical care they may need.

  3. This is a tough subject. Working or volunteering at two shelters over the years I have found that it depends on the place in question and intake policy. The shelter I am working out has a small isolation, quarantine and adoption area. The biggest problem is the number of feral cats that we get from abandoned buildings which are usually either A) too wild to adopt or B) sick. That creates problems for healthy cat being put in the quarantine alongside them. That being the case it is almost as safe to move them into general population. I find it almost more important to have an isolation area than a quarantine area. One sick cat can wipe out a population so moving sick cats out is most important. I have seen it too many times but I have also managed many outbreaks too. I am also writing an animal shelter handbook right now, about 300 pages so these topics mean a lot to me. I hope I can start to write about my animal shelter experiences on here at a later time and share more about the upcoming book project.

    • Hi Mr Z. I would love to hear more from you about running animal shelters. Shelters are very important facilities in society. For that reason, I believe they need to be run as well as possible. If you would like to write for the website on occasions I would be happy to publish it. If you would like to pursue that you can simply make a long comment on one of the pages to do with shelters or indeed this page and I will convert it into a web page article. If you would like to get paid for the article, the fee is $30. Payment is through PayPal.

      Thanks for your very interesting comment. I’m sure that there are complications in having a quarantine room or at the least potential complications and knowledge about these things only really comes through first hand experience.

  4. Could you explain more about how getting paid for the article works? If I understand correctly, I pay a $30 fee to get payed for views on the article?

    Thank you for your kind words regarding the article and I am sure to be posting more in the next month :).

    • Hi Mr Z, — this site will pay you $30 for a published article. Payment is made through PayPal. In other words the fee for your article which should be around 500 words is US$30. It is not an awful lot of money but it is about correct for Internet articles depending on the website.

      Thanks for contacting me again.

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