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Basic Cattery Planning - Environment


Cleaning

The products selected for routine scrubbing of floors, cages, and litter pans are extremely important in the control of disease and odor. Several of these concentrates which are specifically designed for animals are available through your veterinarian. These products list the specific micro-organisms against which they are effective. Small amounts of liquid bleach added to a good household detergent makes an effective disinfectant and is lethal to fungus. Avoid any product containing phenol.

Litter boxes should be completely changed and scrubbed at least once a week. Not only is this a good sanitary practice, but it also breaks up the reproductive cycle of roundworms. The walls of the cattery need to be washed down periodically.

Isolation

In setting up the cattery, it is wise to plan an isolation area. New cats coming into the cattery, cats returning from shows, and sick cats can be confined here to avoid the risk of contaminating the entire cattery.

Ideally, this area should be on a different heating and cooling system from the rest of the house. For most breeders, however, this is not feasible. A spare room or bathroom will often be the solution.

This should be outfitted like any other areas, but special care should be exercised when this space is being used.

Always attend to isolated cats last and make sure the water and food dishes and litter box are kept separate. This is easily done by marking them with fingernail polish. Spray your clothes and shoes (especially soles) and wash your hands before handling any other cat. If your fears are realized and the cat in isolation is seriously ill, you should repaint the area before using it again.

A leukemia isolation is handled much the same way. This virus, however, is not airborne. FeLV is fragile outside the cat, unlike many upper respiratory viruses, and can live only about three days under optimum conditions. Once it dries or comes in contact with disinfectants, it is killed. Special care must be used to see no other cat shares this cat's food, water and litter pans, as these are the principle paths of infection.

In case an epidemic hits the cattery, isolate and treat all infected animals. When the situation subsides, the most effective way to stop the "bug" from lingering is to entirely repaint the cattery and seal in the infection. This is more effective than any disinfectant ever produced.

Extras

If your finances permit, there are several extras you may wish to consider.

You may wish to install a separate heating and cooling unit in the cattery. For a small cattery, window units that do both are available. For a larger cattery, a separate furnace and air conditioner unit will be necessary. In this way, you can keep all odors confined to the cattery. You also can maintain the most advantageous temperature for your breed. In all probability, this will be much more comfortable than the temperature you are maintaining in your house.

In humid climates, dehumidifiers keep the moisture content of the air at acceptable levels. This discourages fungus and upper respiratory disease and keeps the cats' coats in prime condition. In the wintertime, a humidifier will serve the same purpose.

Ultraviolet light systems are quite effective in killing airborne microorganisms. Ozone is an excellent deodorizer and air purifier and has antibacterial properties.