VIPP closes cat shelter to address ringworm

Vashon Island Pet Protectors has temporarily suspended cat adoptions to address a small outbreak of ringworm at its shelter off of Old Mill Road.

Geoff Fletcher, president of the animal rescue group, said the organization is acting conservatively and cautiously, opting to treat all 40 cats at the shelter, even though only three have been diagnosed with the contagious disease, which is spread by way of a fungus.

“In an abundance of caution, we’re going to treat all the cats,” he said.

During the process, which will last at least a month, VIPP won’t adopt out any cats from its shelter, nor will it accept any into it. The nonprofit has another 12 cats in foster care that can be adopted; it can also take in a few cats and put them into foster care. 

The Vashon-based rescue group opened its shelter on the Island’s west side three years ago. Since then, this is its first outbreak of ringworm, a disease that Fletcher has learned is common among long-haired cats and at kennels that breed and raise long-haired cats. 

The situation is putting a strain on VIPP’s financial resources as well as its volunteers, Fletcher said. The organization has to purchase cultures, bleach, medication and other supplies. It’s also replacing all of its cat trees.

Each cat will be cultured to see which ones are positive, and each will go through a treatment that involves dipping it into a sulfer solition, Fletcher said. All the long-haired cats will be shaved.

“We’re in need of more volunteers,” he said. “We’re also in need of foster homes.”


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