An outbreak of feline panleukopenia, a highly contagious virus that mostly affects unvaccinated kittens, has forced the Cheyenne Animal Shelter to implement intake diversion strategies for cats, the agency announced Wednesday.

"For any owners needing to surrender their cat, we are asking that you keep your cat home for the next week while we quarantine the existing population," the shelter said.

"All stray cats that are healthy and uninjured should be left in their location, as they are most likely owned or cared for," the shelter added.

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If you find underage kittens and determine for certain that their mother is not around, you are encouraged to contact the shelter to be set up as a foster home.

"(We) will provide necessary supplies and resources to support the care of the kittens in your home until they are old enough to be adopted," the shelter said.

The shelter says it has taken in nearly 200 stray cats and kittens over the past six weeks, none of whom come with any history of vaccination.

It says cats who are sick are being treated with supportive care, while all other housing areas are being monitored and quarantined.

"The quarantine time for panleukopenia is a minimum of 14 days, increasing the average stay and cost of care per cat by almost 30%," the shelter said.

To help offset the additional cost, the shelter is asking for monetary donations as well as supplies such as disposable litter boxes or cardboard flats, bleach, disposable medical gowns, gently used towels and blankets, and kitten food.

The community can also support the shelter by volunteering or adopting one of the available cats.

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