CALDWELLCOUNTY, N.C. -- The Caldwell County Animal Control has temporarily banned cats from the shelter after a highly contagious virus has killed seven over a couple of days and forced officials to euthanize the remaining nine.

Starting today animal control officials will not accept cats brought to the shelter.

The ban will last until March 18.

The virus, known as feline calicivirus, is similar to the Parvovirus in dogs and is spread through the mouth, blood and feces, according to a Caldwell County news release.

Animal Control workers Tuesday began work to sanitize the shelter, which has never before experienced an outbreak of the virus, director Greg Greene said in the release.

Because the virus spreads so fast, we really don t know which cat came in with the virus or from what part of the county it came from, Green said. Fortunately, our numbers of cats is much lower than normal, plus we have not had any cats adopted during this period, so there is not a cat that left here with the virus.

The virus is not transferable to other animals or humans.

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