Cats are back at the Caldwell County Animal Shelter

LENOIR, NC (WBTV) - Almost a week after a portion of the Caldwell County animal Shelter was closed to cats, the cat kennels are back in business.

The shutdown came after several cats died of what is believed to be Calicivirus. It is an upper respiratory infection that normally is not fatal but a strain at the shelter was much stronger than normal, said Animal Control officer Shane Foster.

"The cats were falling quickly, " he said.  The disease, which does not affect dogs or other animals, was discovered after two cats died. Preliminary tests indicated the Calicivirus.

More samples were sent off for extensive tests and those results are not back yet. The virus is usually passed though the air from cat to cat, said Veterinarian Dr. John Thuss. "It normally is just a moderate illness, sort of like the flu in humans," he said.

Thuss thinks there could be other factors involved in this case but cannot be sure until all the test results are back.

In the meantime, the shelter closed its doors to cats, euthanized all the cats that were exposed and started the process of sanitizing the kennels. Monday morning officials decided the danger had passed and reopened the shelter to cats.

Officials said they do not expect any further problems but urge cat owners to talk with their vets about a vaccine for the Calicivirus.

"It is so much easier to prevent something like this than it is to treat it," said Dr. Thuss.

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