The Greymouth SPCA is in a lockdown due to an outbreak of cat flu.

Centre manager Mel Rutherford confirmed this morning the Preston Road centre had been affected by an outbreak of cat flu for about three weeks, but it had been contained.

"We have had some cat flu in the centre, so they're in our isolation unit," Ms Rutherford said.

The infection had probably arrived at the centre through a stray cat which had not been inoculated.


Any new cats arriving at the centre were automatically put into the isolation area for a seven-day quarantine while they were assessed, inoculated and cleared of any infectious diseases.

That was where the cat flu had broken out and that part of the centre had been kept under strict management over the past three weeks while the infection ran its natural course.

"Unfortunately because of it, we haven't been able to physically take any other animals," Ms Rutherford said.

However, that did not mean Greymouth SPCA was not able to deal with animals which needed care and protection.

It continued to deal with urgent cases, with incoming sick or injured animals being kept off site.

Ms Rutherford said their animal welfare work continued and they had been fortunate in having the Hokitika SPCA, a local boarding kennel and cattery, and West Coast Vets all being able to take in animals on their behalf.

She expected the centre would be dealing with the cat flu for at least two more weeks.

"We're hoping we are just about at the end of it (but) at the end of the day, we're always here for sick and injured animals. It might not just be on site at the moment."

Ms Rutherford said the SPCA relied on the goodwill of the public to operate and she called on people to be patient while they dealt with the situation.

Cats sick with the flu needed to be kept isolated for about 10 days.

She described the illness as "very contagious" and the outbreak underlined the importance of having cats vaccinated.

- Greymouth Star