Sunday, 22 January 2017

Queens Warehouse Transforms into Makeshift Cat Hospital for Hundreds of Felines Exposed to Bird Flu

By Angi Gonzalez

Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 06:04 PM EST 

A warehouse in Long Island City has been transformed into a makeshift shelter for hundreds of cats being treated for a strain of bird flu. NY1's Angi Gonzalez has the story.

"It'll be great to see these guys get out and go to homes," said Tim Rickey, with ASPCA.

This cat is among more than 500 felines on the road to recovery at this Long Island City warehouse.

"We have about 45 responders here every day providing care for the cats," Rickey said.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — took over two floors of this facility on Austell Place — right after Christmas.

Days earlier, they were tapped by the city’s Animal Care Centers to help quarantine hundreds of cats from three different shelters who'd started showing symptoms of the H7N2 virus — or bird flu.

"The ASPCA has basically an animal emergency response team and whether its disaster or cruelty cases or outbreaks like in this case we travel around the country and provide the necessary people to manage the situation," said Joel Lopez with the society.

It is still unclear just how the cats got sick, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transmission to both cats and humans is rare.

Still, volunteers and the medical staff caring for the animals, aren't taking any chances suiting up before entering the cat quarantine.

 "We take every necessary precaution to keep our responders safe," Lopez said.

Some clients of a doggy daycare, located in the same building, initially expressed concern about what was going on just few feet away from their pets.  

"They should have told us and let us know that there is something going on in the building," said a dog dare care client.

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