Coronavirus: Kittens of rehoming age
Updated: Saturday 28th March 2020
GCCF rule 1/10b/ii requires all kittens to be vaccinated against Feline Infectious Enteritis(FPV) and Cat “Flu” (FCV & FHV) before leaving for their new homes. However the rule does make provision for rehoming unvaccinated kittens in an emergency as long as the GCCF Office is informed. This provision normally only applies when a breeder is unable to care for their kittens due to illness or accident.
Due to the fact that vets are currently not permitted to provide routine treatment such as vaccination and neutering this concession is temporarily expanded to include kittens from 12 weeks of age when the breeder has not been able to have them vaccinated by a veterinary surgeon and will have real difficulty in providing adequate care of them for an extended period provided Government travel advice permits .
Breeders who have to keep kittens over 12-13 weeks should be mindful of the fact that these kittens become more vulnerable to infectious disease as their maternally derived immunity wanes. They may be unaware that adult cats in their household could well be symptomless carriers of the viruses and a potential source of infection to the kittens. The kittens should be vaccinated before mixing with other cats in the household as vaccination does a good job of providing protection against clinical disease although it may not stop the cats becoming infected (possibly a symptomless infection) and becoming a carrier shedding the viruses . Therefore, it is recommended that you keep these kittens separate from the adults in your household and adopt good hygiene procedures when caring for them (until they have been vaccinated).
Similarly vets are not routinely neutering pets at the current time. Those breeders who do early neuter will either need to keep kittens until their vet is doing this once again, or include reference to the new owner undertaking to do this within their contract of sale
The conditions under which unvaccinated kittens may be rehomed when Government travel advice permits are as follows:
1. The kitten/s must be at least 12 weeks old, in good health and not showing any symptom of contagious disease.
2. The kitten/s must be registered on the non-active register and rehomed as pets. It is not permitted to rehome unvaccinated active registered kittens to a breeding household. This would be placing the kitten’s health and welfare at high risk and there could be no possible justification.
3. Ideally unvaccinated kittens should only be rehomed as single cats or with a sibling. If an unvaccinated kitten is sold to a home with a small number of pet cats the new owner must agree to keep the kitten isolated from the other cat/s until the kitten has completed its vaccination course.
4. The new owner must agree to keep the kitten indoors until it has been vaccinated in accordance with GCCF Rule 1/10b/ii and been neutered.
5. It is strongly recommended that the breeder asks the new owner to sign a contract accepting these conditions. The breeder cannot be responsible for any veterinary costs incurred as a result of the kitten contracting one of the infectious diseases that he/she would normally be vaccinated against unless symptoms appear within 10 days of rehoming.
(A link to a modified contract is below. Please edit to suit your particular situation.)
(Link to Specimen Kitten Contract modified for Covid 19)
UPDATED ADVICE ON VACCINATION FROM THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF VETERINARY SURGEONS AND THE BRITISH VETERINARY ASSOCIATION
Friday 27th March 2020
The existing restriction of vets to emergency treatment only was replaced on 26 March 2020 by a slightly more flexible approach in guidance notes issued by the RCVS and BVA.
The RCVS Document (See FAQ 11) advises that vets use their professional judgement and give vaccines where there is a real and imminent risk of disease.
According to the BVA Statement on Pet Vaccinations (Para 4) naïve (ie unvaccinated) animals in a high risk environment and/or of a high risk breed may now be vaccinated.
Pedigree kittens forced to remain unvaccinated in the high risk environment of a multicat household for weeks longer than normal due to Covid 19 travel restrictions qualify on both these counts.
If you are still having difficulty finding a vet willing to vaccinate your kittens please mention this new guidance in the links above to your vet.
If your vet does (and it is at their discretion) agree to vaccinate your kittens please respect and comply with the strict hygiene requirements you will be asked to follow. You will not be allowed to accompany your kittens into the practice. Your vet will give you detailed instructions about this when you arrange the appointment.
In the meanwhile the advice is to isolate your unvaccinated kittens (except of course their mother) from adults in your household and adopt good hygiene precautions when caring for them. It is also a good idea to isolate kittens from their mother as soon as they are fully weaned. This can be done from around 6 weeks of age.
Dr Susan F Moreland BA Vet MB MRCVS
GCCF Veterinary Officer
Breeders and coronavirus (Covid-19)
Vaccination of Kittens
Last updated: Thursday 26th March 2020
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has advised all companion animal veterinary surgeons to restrict their practice to emergency treatment only. As a result many breeders are reporting that they are having great difficulty finding a veterinary surgeon willing to vaccinate their kittens.
The GCCF rule regarding vaccination of kittens is as follows:
1/10b/ii. All cats and kittens must have received two doses of vaccine, 3 to 4 weeks apart, in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations against infectious enteritis (FPV), FHV and FCV (‘cat flu’) at least one week prior to sale and/or leaving for a new home.
Note: in the event of an emergency that requires a cat or kitten to be rehomed that is not fully vaccinated, the office should be informed as soon as possible. (Amended 17.06.2015, 21.2.2018, 19.06.2019).
At present, the current GCCF rules remain unchanged, ie breeders must not rehome unvaccinated kittens and kittens must be fully vaccinated and at least 12-13 weeks old before going to a new home. Current Government advice to stay at home except for essential travel for the next three weeks effectively prevents collection or delivery of kittens at the present time. However, the GCCF is aware that this may have implications for the health and welfare of cats in households due to overcrowding should this situation be extended for a longer period.
The GCCF rule does however allow unvaccinated cats or kittens to be rehomed in an emergency situation. If a breeder is experiencing serious difficulty as a result of not being able to rehome unvaccinated kittens to the extent that the welfare of cats/kittens in their household may be compromised they should inform the GCCF office by email firstname.lastname@example.org (as the Office is currently unstaffed) and advice about rehoming in this situation will be given. No unvaccinated kitten may be rehomed until at least 12 weeks old. The GCCF is sympathetic to breeders suffering such difficulty.
The Veterinary Officers are constantly monitoring the situation and are involved in discussion with the RCVS and British Veterinary Association requesting that the official advice to vets is made a little more flexible so that vets may use their discretion to provide some routine treatment in circumstances where failure to do so is likely to compromise the animals’ health and welfare.
In light of the possibility that government restrictions could be extended for some time, the GCCF strongly advise that breeders consider not mating any cats until it is clear that restrictions are likely to come to an end.
Ongoing updates will be posted on the GCCF website:
Breeders and coronavirus (Covid-19) FAQs
Last updated: Wednesday 25 March 2020
Given the rapidly changing situation, please regularly check the latest government advice and continually assess your own situation based on this information. See link to gov.uk website on the left.
The most recent government measures everyone must comply with are:
· Stay at home
· Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
· Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
· Wash your hands as soon as you get home
The full guidance on complying with these measures is available on the GOV.UK website:
· New rules on staying at home and away from others
· Stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
We are expecting advice and guidance from Defra shortly, but in the meantime we are trying to answer your questions below:
I have a litter of kittens due. What is the advice about visiting families?
Government advice is to stay at home and away from others unless absolutely necessary, so if you already have a litter of kittens, keep in contact with and update new owners by phone, email, video calls, and sending photos – not visits to your home.
We are awaiting clarification from Defra about new owners picking up kittens in these unprecedented times. We’re here to support breeders and new owners, and will update this information as soon as we can.
At all times it’s essential to take extra hygiene precautions and follow government advice depending on your and the new owner’s situation.
Will there be a delay of registering my kittens with GCCF if the office is closed?
There will be a slight delay with our registration services, as staff are working from home for their own safety. However during this time, we would strongly advise that customers use the online methods where possible as there will be unavoidable delays to postal applications.
We were planning a litter but should we now delay this?
We advise against mating cats at the present time. However this has to be a personal decision, based on your individual situation and risk assessment of this, but do consider the difficulties around breeding kittens in the current climate, the potential of you getting poorly and not being able to care for your kittens or cats, whether your local vet will be able to assist if needed and how to deal with prospective owners responsibly when the public have been told they must stay at home and avoid others unless absolutely essential, and the situation is changing rapidly.
How can I best take care of my kittens and cats during this period?
It’s important to follow government advice depending on your situation. If you have symptoms of the virus and feel unwell, the advice is to self-isolate and this includes physical contact with your pets – as hard as it may be. If you live alone and become unwell and need to self-isolate, a friend or family member may be able to care for your cat/s and/or kittens for you, but we are awaiting clarification on this and who can help.
Otherwise, if you have kittens, are feeling well but staying at home and away from others, take extra hygiene precautions: try to avoid facial contact with your cats and kittens, keep your kittens as clean as you can and always wash your hands with soap and water after touching them, preparing their food, and cleaning their sleeping and litter tray area.
Make sure anyone in your household where you are rearing the kittens follows these measures. There is no evidence that cats or dogs can get or transmit Covid-19, but these measures are to reduce the likelihood of your pet spreading the disease through environmental contamination on their fur – so it’s essential to increase hygiene precautions.
Will vets still be on hand to assist if something goes wrong?
Government advice is to stay at home and avoid others, unless absolutely necessary, so if your cat or kittens need vet care during this period, call your vet in the first instance. Don’t leave the house to go to your vet if you are self-isolating. Better still, check NOW what level of service your Vet is able to provide.
Vets are classed as ‘key workers’ so you will be able to get advice from your vet if you call them.
What should I do if I need to get my kittens vaccinated or microchipped?
Firstly, speak to your vet to ask them what they recommend and what procedures they are presently carrying out. Due to the measures set out by government at this time, vaccinations and microchipping are likely to be paused for now.
We’re here to support breeders however we can, and will update this information as soon as we can.
Is it safe for someone else to take care of cats that I breed from if I'm taken ill or have to self-isolate?
We are seeking clarification from Defra and charities on this point and will update this information as soon as we can.
In the meanwhile if you have worries about the care of your cats if you should become seriously ill it is a good idea to make a list showing all their identity details including the following:
- GCCF Registration Number, Registered and pet names
- Microchip number
- Breed, sex, date of birth
- Dietary requirements
- Any ongoing health problems including medication
Such a list will be of great help to anyone who has to care for your cats in an emergency. It should be kept with your cats’ vaccination certificates.
REGISTRATIONS & IMPORT DOCUMENTATION
Unfortunately, due to the strict lockdown procedures announced by the Government on 23rd March 2020, we will not be able to send post out to customers. This includes returning documents and new registration cards etc.
However, from Monday 30th March 2020 we hope to be able to email customers a copy of new registration cards etc. We will then send out the cards, and any documents that need to be returned, in the post as soon as the restrictions have been lifted.
We will also temporarily accept photocopies of import paperwork. Please send them to email@example.com This will return to the originals being required as soon as restrictions are lessened.
We apologise for any inconvenience and are doing our best to keep the disruption to the minimum possible. Thank you for your understanding.
CANCELLATION OF SUPREME SHOW & OFFICE CLOSURE
19 Mar 2020
As most will be aware a number of GCCF shows have recently been cancelled, due to the ongoing issue of COVID-19. It has been decided, after due consideration, that the GCCF Supreme Cat Show 2020 should be cancelled. Whilst we are very much aware that the scheduled date is not till October, it was decided the responsible thing to do was to cancel, before investing large sums of money into an event which could ultimately be cancelled at a later date. This will, as far as we possibly can, ensure the safety of our staff, exhibitors and public alike.
It is unfortunate that we have had to take such drastic measures but we must be aware of the impact this could have on everyone, and act responsibly in accordance with Government legislation, also be aware that the circumstances are constantly changing.
Due to the control measures in place in regard to COVID-19, unfortunately we have also had to take the decision to close the office from 4.30 pm on Friday 20th March until further notice. This decision has not been taken lightly. We have put things in place to provide a reduced service but this may change if staff members become ill.
Phone calls and voicemails to the office will not be monitored, so we ask you to send your query in by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org where our staff members working from home will be able to help you.
If you are waiting on registration cards, these will be sent as soon as possible. We have reduced our printing & posting, so it may take a little longer than usual for you to receive registration cards. If you need to send us something that is urgent, then please send this by email and not by post.
And please remember that you can register kittens, and complete transfers via the online services on our website, rather than posting in the paper forms.
We thank you for your patience and understanding at this difficult time and, again, if there is anything that we can help with, please send us an email.
The Board and Staff of GCCF hope you all remain safe and well.
John H Hansson
CANCELLATION OF SHOWS & MEETINGS
17 Mar 2020
CANCELLATION OF SHOWS & MEETINGS
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer last night that all people should avoid social gatherings, the Board of Directors has concluded that all cat shows and club meetings must now be cancelled, to ensure we comply with any Health and Safety measures that may be imposed. It may be possible to hold your club meeting electronically .
We wish to assure Show Managers that we will do everything possible to ensure support for any shows which may be cancelled due the Covid-19 outbreak, show managers are advised to ensure, as far as possible, they minimise their costs. Relevant clubs have been contacted, and the question of support for those that have incurred costs will be discussed by the Finance Committee in a teleconference tomorrow. Anyone with an urgent enquiry should contact the GCCF Office so that it can be passed on to someone best placed to help.
There will be no June Council Meeting so delegates should not book any advance travel tickets. Board discussions will be by teleconference and email.
GCCF will do what it can to assist clubs but at this juncture it is too complex to state to what extent.
You are all strongly advised to follow any Government or Local Authority guidance in an effort to control as far as possible further spread of this Virus.
May all stay safe and well
John H Hansson and Board Members.