MEDLEY (CBS4) – Infectious disease specialists confirmed this week that more than a dozen cats at Miami-Dade Animal Services died from a serious illness that few kittens survive.

“All it takes is one cat to be shedding the virus,” said Dr. Maria Serrano, a veterinarian at Miami-Dade Animal Services.

She is trying to control a viral outbreak of feline panleukopenia (also called the cat plague), a serious illness among cats that could kill them.

It was already killed 14 cats at the shelter, mostly kittens. Friday morning, the shelter moved every cat to a new temporary holding facility. CBS4 cameras were not even allowed inside because the virus is extremely contagious. It attacks the gastrointestinal tract.

“The most important things are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, they kind of slow down, they don’t eat,” said Dr. Serrano.

Dr. Serrano says she and her team scrubbed down the main facility in Medley and that the cats here now were never exposed.

“The cats that are here are brand new population,” she said.

Dr. Serrano says they were all vaccinated before coming here. She does not think any cats with the virus were adopted out.

She also tells us the quarantined cats are not necessarily sick, they are just making sure no other cats catch the virus. She believes all of the cats will soon be back at the shelter, ready to be adopted.