The head of Cyprus’ veterinarians’ association on Wednesday dismissed as groundless claims that a lethal mutation of a virus has taken the lives of some 300,000 cats, saying they misleadingly depicted the small island nation abroad as a “feline cemetery.”
The director of the Pancyprian Veterinary Association, Nektaria Ioannou Arsenoglou, says the numbers presented by local animal activists and amplified by foreign media outlets “simply don’t add up” since a survey of 35 veterinary clinics conducted by the Association only indicate an island-wide total of around 8,000 such deaths.
Arsenoglou told the Associated Press Wednesday the local mutation of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), caused by the feline version of the coronavirus, is nearly always lethal if left untreated, but medication can nurse cats back to health in approximately 85% of cases. Spread through contact with cat feces, neither the virus or its mutation can be passed on to humans.
A Cypriot cat activists who goes by the name Marina Niaou and who maintains a feral cat colony complained to the AP that authorities have been dragging their feet in searching out cheap mediation to tackle the spread of the virus.
The mutation came to the attention of veterinarians as well as the island’s multitude of cat caregivers in January this year, with cases continuing to rise steadily until mid-spring when, Arsenoglou said, they started to level off.
Measures have already been enacted to prevent the export of the mutation through mandatory medical check-ups of all felines destined for adoption abroad.