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Shelter volunteers - How do you avoid bringing diseases home to your kitties?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping to become a volunteer soon. One thing my DH and I have been thinking about is how I can make sure I don't bring home any illnesses to our own kitties. We've battled ringworm before and it was NO FUN. And of course, I would be horrified if I somehow gave my kitties something even worse like FELV. What steps do you take to ensure you don't bring germs home to your cats?
post #2 of 12
The only thing I have ever brought home is URI and mine got it so mildly I didn't even take them to the vet.

I have shelter clothes and a separate laundry basket (covered) for my shelter clothes. When I get home I strip out of the clothes and have a shower before handling my cats.

Most diseases can not be brought home on your clothing and most shelters wont have cats that are that contagious in areas where regular volunteers (we allow some of our very experienced volunteers into isolation but generally it is just staff)
post #3 of 12
Well - my shoes are off in the garage, my clothes immediately into the laundry (right into the machine to be washed). I wash my hands/arms right away, too. Just be diligent - don't handle your pets until you are in clean clothes & have washed....sometimes if I am handling ringworm animals a lot - I shower when I get home.

You can bring home URI, ringworm (or other fungus), distemper, parvo, if you handle dogs contagious mange, etc. FeLV & FIV I don't think you can transmit unless you bring home an un-tested cat to foster.
post #4 of 12
I normally change before entering the apartment. The shelter I volunteer at is close to my mothers house, so I pop by there before heading home. I change my shoes there as well, and keep them in my trunk so my boys cant get at them. I also launder my scrubs once i change at my mothers, just to avoid any chances of bringing things home. Always better to be safe than sorry!

Oh, and I'm always, ALWAYS washing my hands, changing gloves, etc. Especially if I'm not in the adoptable cat room, as the sick rooms its easy to pass diseases/infections so easily (low immune systems, etc)

But you're great for volunteering! the animals will appreciate it!!!
post #5 of 12
Most diseases would be very difficult for you to transmit to your cats. Parvo on the other hand is a virus that affects dogs and can be transmitted on shoes and clothing. Since I am a professional pet sitter and I work at a facility that is both shelter and vet's office I completely change clothes before interacting with any animals outside of the shelter. There's an area at the shelter where no animals enter and I can change. I change all my clothes and my shoes and wash my hands and my arms. If Parvo ever does break out I'll be showering before I leave as well.

FYI Feline AIDS and FeLuk cannot be transmitted by you from one cat to another. They're actually not terribly easy to transmit. Thank God for that.
post #6 of 12
I have clothes that are shelter only clothes. A jacket, shirt, shoes, pants and gloves that I only use there. As soon as I get home the shoes go in the closet, the clothes in the laundry and myself into the shower. I also thouroughly wash my hands before I leave the shelter and when I get home. Even between animal handlings I try to keep a purel in my pocket and do a quick wash.


Good Luck!
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmunsie View Post
Even between animal handlings I try to keep a purel in my pocket and do a quick wash.

Purel is also handy when you get a scratch and need to kill germs quick. I keep some and I keep Neosporin in my bag since I'm usually nicked here and there.
post #8 of 12
Like the others, I have shelter only clothes and change my shoes outside the door. The problems I have had have been with fostering - but I keep foster kittens and cats in a separate part of the house, three doors away from my cats. They are then in cages till I am sure they are healthy. Even so, I lost two cats this winter to FIP, brought in, I think, by a foster kitten.
post #9 of 12
I have shelter shoes (I find those pick up the most germs). I keep my shelter shoes in my car & change back and forth. When I get home I immediatly take off my clothes & shower. I've been there 7 - 8 years. My last got NEVER got sick. Over the last couple years Jordan has picked up a couple of URI's but that could be due to the feline herpes already present in his system.
post #10 of 12
I've volunteered at our shelter for 7 months and haven't had a problem. I don't work in the hospital/vet area though. I've seen that area quarantined off only once because of parvo. I don't have special shoes or anything. I wear the same thing everytime I go but it gets washed when I get home. I use hand sanitizer in between each animal and of course wash my hands frequently. I'm really just in the adoption area, where the public is, and in the office area in the back. Each visitation room (another area I spend a lot of time in) is cleaned in between each visit.

The thing I do have a hard time with is allergies. I'm fine at home with 3 cats and a dog but the shelter is a whole other story!
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakura View Post

The thing I do have a hard time with is allergies. I'm fine at home with 3 cats and a dog but the shelter is a whole other story!
Lol, I hear you! I take my meds every day so I can work.
post #12 of 12
I keep antibacterial waterless stuff with me when I'm working with animals. It's pretty awesome stuff.
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