Originally Posted by elizwithcat
Does the shelter vaccinate the cats? Disempher should be vaccinated against.
Unfortunately, many shelters use a killed vaccine protocol that does not give significant protection until after the second vaccine is given. So between the first and second shot, the kittens are still almost as vulnerable as they would be if they hadn't been vaccinated at all.
Modified live vaccines give much quicker, stronger protection, but they also cannot be used on pregnant cats or kittens under 5 weeks of age.
And the virus is so hardy that even strictly isolating cats often isn't enough. You can literally pass the virus on your hands even after washing thoroughly. By the time you know you have distemper in the facility, pretty much every cat will have been exposed.
Distemper is basically your worst nightmare. It's the sort of thing that would cause paranoia in even the most well-adjusted person.