Several kittens had to be put down earlier this month as officials in the Hayward Police Department's animal shelter sought to stop the spread of feline panleukopenia.
Shelter staff had to take other precautions as well such as quarantining exposed kittens and disinfecting the facility. The disease is highly contagious to unvaccinated cats and kittens and difficult to detect, shelter officials said.
It is potentially fatal. In domestic cats it's often referred to as feline distemper.
The disease often occurs in the spring among unvaccinated cats living in large groups, according to shelter officials.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, which can cause life-threatening dehydration. A vaccine is available through veterinarians.
The East Bay SPCA has a listing of low-cost and free veterinary care options.