“It is a very contagious virus, so it is extra careful if your cat is not vaccinated,” says Kristel de Munnik, vet at the Sterkliniek in Harderwijk.
Cats with feline disease, a disease caused by the parvovirus, can experience stomach and intestinal complaints, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite. “They are really sick and many cats really die from it. There is no cure for it.”
Once in a while there is a regional outbreak of the cat’s disease. “They are mainly kittens, because they have not yet been vaccinated,” said the vet. “Probably an infected cat has been here in the region, perhaps a stray cat. If you have many cats together that have not been vaccinated, you will have an outbreak.”
“There is no cure for the virus itself, we can only treat the symptoms. If your cat becomes infected, contact a doctor and quarantine your cat in the meantime so that it cannot infect other cats.”
The cat’s disease has been around since the 1950s, says virologist Herman Egberink of Utrecht University. “Then there was immediately vaccinated against. The feline disease is relatively rare in the Netherlands because we almost all adhere well to that vaccination.”
Vaccination is the only thing that works, according to Egberink, because there is no medicine. “Vaccination is really all you can do to make sure your cat doesn’t get the disease.”
A lower vaccination rate, according to Egberink, means that there are minor outbreaks of the virus. “It is often a local outbreak, such as in an animal shelter. You often see it in young kittens, who have not yet been vaccinated. They also easily ignite each other.”
People don’t have to worry about getting the virus. However, they can infect other cats if they have been in contact with a cat that has the disease.