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Virus strikes kittens in the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks SPCA is temporarily limiting kitten adoptions after identifying an illness impacting young cats across Dare County.

Since mid-June, kittens showing symptoms such as lethargy, unsteadiness in their movement and general signs of weakness have been seen in the area, the agency said in a news release.

“While the actual illness has yet to be determined, extensive veterinary consultation and state laboratory testing indicates the illness to be viral in nature,” the SPCA said.

Kitten adoptions will be limited for several weeks at SPCA, but adult cat adoptions will continue.

If you have a cat under six months that begins acting lethargic, unsteady, or any other symptoms of weakness, the SPCA advises taking the pet to your veterinarian immediately.

The group says anyone bringing a new pet into their home from any source should make sure to vaccinate cats and kittens of all ages, and vaccine series should begin immediately after bringing the pet home.

If you cannot afford a visit to your veterinarian, contact animal welfare groups like Feline Hope, Friends of Felines HI, Coastal Humane Society and the Outer Banks SPCA for low-cost vaccination clinics or options for financial assistance.

Keeping new additions to the family separate from established pets and slowly introducing them is a good way to make sure everyone stays healthy and bonds well.