A VACCINE shortage is leaving stray cats with nowhere to go.
Feline vaccines are scarce, which is straining the resources and capacities of Australian animal shelters. Frankston Council has put a pause on handing out cat traps to residents on advice from animal shelters in the municipality, The Times understands.
The Lost Dogs’ Home in Cranbourne West provides Frankston Council’s animal shelter services. In a statement it said that it would never turn away animals in need, but that it is discouraging people from bringing in healthy stray cats.
“There is currently a serious global shortage of cat vaccines and the supply of essential cat vaccines in Australia are not expected to come back into circulation until February next year or later,” the Lost Dogs’ Home said. “Management of this situation is a priority for The Lost Dogs’ Home. We are currently seeking exemptions from the code of practice during the shortage to be able to activate a triage process to direct our limited supply of precious vaccines to where they are needed most, as well as other protocols to move increased numbers of cats and kittens through their foster/adoption pathways much faster. Reduced time in the shelter will in turn lower the risk of disease breaking out. We are also working with our partner councils to slow down, and where possible avoid, high numbers of cats coming through the shelter.
“At this time, we have every contingency possible in place to be able to provide the highest level of care we can during this challenging situation. However, we call on Animal Welfare Victoria and the Australian Veterinary Association to strongly advocate for supplies to be immediately and without compromise directed to organisations caring for cat populations at highest risk, as soon as they become available.”
The Lost Dogs’ Home accepted more than 11,000 cats into its care during the last financial year.
A statement on the Australian Veterinary Association website confirmed that the vaccine shortage is expected to last until 2024. “Due to complicated supply problems post-COVID, there is currently a shortage of feline vaccines in Australia, and this is expected to continue until early 2024. This has already had a major impact on shelters, with some having to close their doors to new cat and kitten admissions,” the AVA said.
“Feedback from vaccine suppliers has confirmed the issue is being effectively managed with the highest priority, with some supply available in the latter part of 2023, before normalising in early 2024. The key message is to prioritise kittens and delay adult boosters if possible.”
The state government says that it hasn’t directed people to stop trapping stray cats. A statement from Animal Welfare Victoria read “the Victorian Government has not directed councils to stop any cat management programs within their municipality.”
Animal Welfare Victoria has contacted councils statewide to inform them that council-operated and contracted pounds have to accept all surrendered dogs and cats within their municipality and make alternative arrangements if they are at capacity.
Frankston Council was contacted for comment.