The RSPCA is urging pet-owners about the importance of vaccinations after an increase of stray cats being presented with a potentially fatal virus at the charity’s Birmingham Animal Hospital.

In the last couple of months, the hospital has seen 31 cats suffering from the virus feline panleukopenia (FPV). The disease can be fatal to cats and kittens.

The infected cats were collected from across Birmingham.

Joanna Szkutnicki, Senior Clinician at the hospital, said: “FPV is a severe disease that can prove fatal. Most cats contract it from a contaminated environment via infected faeces rather than from direct contact with infected cats. The virus is very resilient and can survive in the environment for up to a year.

“We would like to remind people to ensure that their cats are vaccinated as this is the main method of protection. Primary vaccination courses start at approximately eight weeks of age, with a second injection three to four weeks later. It is also important that your annual booster is kept up to date in adult cats as allowing it to lapse could put them at risk.

“While kittens are more susceptible to the virus, it can affect adult cats as well. Symptoms can include vomiting and diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, lethargy and sudden collapse. If your cat shows symptoms of feline enteritis then contact your vet immediately.”

 To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give.