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Appeal for foster homes as cats hit by winter flu

Foster homes are being sought for cats struck down in an outbreak of winter flu.

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) has seen a rise in cases of cat flu.

Around 20 cats with the flu currently require foster homes.

"The cats have runny noses, sneezing and runny eyes," said Gillian Bird of the DSPCA.

"We need foster people to take on a cat. They ideally need a spare room, and to be able to take a cat for up to three weeks."

Cat flu is contagious to unvaccinated cats, but not humans or other animals, said Gillian. "The weather is mild, and because the virus is airborne it has spread."

She said that pet owners should make it part of their New Year's resolutions to keep up to date with animal flu shots.

Any cats that came in over the holiday period with the flu should be kept apart in a separate room.

The DSPCA already has around 150 foster parents but at the moment many are either away or are already fostering a pet.

Meanwhile, with just under 300, or an average of five animals per day, rehomed in the final two months of 2012, the DSPCA has asked the public to make "adopt, don't buy" a year-round resolution for 2013, not just for Christmas.