Cat adoptions have been temporarily put on hold at Noah's Ark in Rockford because of a feline distemper outbreak in their shelter.

The disease was first detected at the kennel when a kitten was found unresponsive in the morning. The kitten was diagnosed with feline distemper at the veterinary hospital. It is the first time that Noah's Ark has had an outbreak of feline distemper and is taking it very seriously. Mystateline was able to speak with Stephanie Lauer, Executive Director of Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.

Mystateline - It is a tough disease to fight, because just like parvo virus in dogs, it hits very hard, very fast, highly contagious, just like parvo virus in dogs. This is our first time seeing it come through our kennel.

The outbreak has claimed the lives of 5 cats and one kitten already at Noah's Ark and doesn't seem to be just a local problem. Lauer said that they have heard of shelters around the country and have been working with a shelter in California to help stop the spread in both locations.

Lauer also notes that it is easy to protect your cat from feline distemper with an annual vaccine. If your cat is already vaccinated, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

Dogs can still be adopted from the shelter but all cat adoptions have been put on hold for 7 days.

Noah's Ark is also looking for donations of the following items to help them with their clean up: Hand towels, Rescue hydrogen cleaner, plastic gowns, gloves, empty spray bottles and bleach. If you have any of these items to donate you can drop them off at their downtown location.

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Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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