WATERVILLE —  Humane Society Waterville Area officials hope to reopen the shelter’s free-roam cat rooms on Monday, since 11 cats diagnosed recently with a contagious respiratory virus have recovered, according to the organization’s board of directors president.

Malena Gatti said that due to the team’s diligent work, the feline calicivirus was successfully contained, and there was no further spread after Dec. 1.

“All 11 of those confirmed cases have since recovered and are no longer showing symptoms,” Gatti said Thursday in an email. “Our team has now shifted its focus to catching up on administrative tasks that will allow us to open the cat wing back up as soon as possible. We’re hoping to have our free roam rooms with adoptable cats available to the public again starting on Monday.”

Feline calicivirus is a highly contagious virus that causes mild to severe respiratory infection and oral disease in cats, according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York. It is common in shelters and breeding colonies and while most cats recover from the virus, rare strains can be fatal, according to the college.

Gatti said Dec. 1 that the shelter’s cat wing was closed temporarily due to the presence of the virus, which was confirmed in 11 of the shelter’s 99 cats, and the team was working to contain it and help the cats recover. When shelter officials learned some cats were sick, they decided to self-quarantine, leading to the closure of the feline wing, according to Gatti, who said they reached out to the state’s animal welfare veterinary team for guidance.

Rae-Ann Demos, the humane society’s former executive director, said at a fundraising event in June that the nonprofit operates on more than $1 million a year and counts on donations and grants to survive. Many people think the shelter gets state and federal money, but it does not, Demos said.

Donations of any amount help the operation, according to officials, who say contributions may be sent to: Humane Society Waterville Area, 100 Webb Road, Waterville, ME 04901, or people may donate on the shelter’s website or Facebook page.

Meanwhile, in addition to the cats, 23 dogs also live at the shelter, according to Gatti.

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