BRIGHTON, Colo. — Brighton Animal Welfare suspects a contagious virus could be to blame after an "unusually high number" of sick or dead cats were found in a neighborhood.
Ever since Kelsey Geske moved to the Brighton East Farms neighborhood, her front porch has become a cat sanctuary.
“These babies have more babies and more babies. And there’s just cats everywhere,” said Geske.
Geske isn't the only one who will tell you this Colorado neighborhood is overrun by felines. Yvonne Turner said dealing with the cats has become a daily battle.
“The other day, I ordered Chick-fil-A. And before I could get to the door, they were already tearing through the bag,” said Turner.
Brighton Animal Welfare identified nearly a half dozen deceased cats in the neighborhood, along with several sick felines. While a definitive cause has not been found, investigators have identified feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) among the sick cats, according to the Brighton Police Department.
“Any time something like this happens, you hold your pet a little closer,” said Geske.
Brighton PD attached fliers to doors in the neighborhood, which contained information on the virus from Adams County veterinarians.
FPV is very contagious and commonly travels through a group of cats, making feral cats and shelter cats most vulnerable. Kittens are most susceptible to the disease, which is spread through feces, saliva, urine or contaminated objects.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, poor coat condition and enlarged lymph nodes, among other symptoms. There is a vaccine to protect your cat against the disease.
Brighton police said out of an abundance of caution, cat owners and caretakers are urged to avoid allowing their cats to roam outside. Additionally, residents who care for stray cats are asked to remove any shared bedding, litter boxes, or food sources to avoid cross-contamination.