Sunday, January 27, 2013

Serious Sunday

When the director of Felines and Friends New Mexico gave me permission to blog about Austin and Rocio, she said that she hoped it would encourage other people to adopt cats with FIV or FeLV.  That got me to thinking and I decided to make a post based on things I have heard people say about adopting FIV+ and FeLV+ cats.

1. A cat with FIV or FeLV would make the cats I already have sick.

This one is mostly true.  Though it is not recommended to mix FIV+ and cats without the disease, the only way that it can be passed from cat to cat is through sex or a bite deep enough to bleed.  FeLV is much more contagious and it would be irresponsible to bring a FeLV+ cat into a household without the disease.  There are reported cases where a FeLV+ cat has lived with other cats for years without passing on the disease, but it would still be a very bad idea to mix them knowingly.

2.  I want a normal, playful cat, not a sick one.


How about these cats?
                                                                      Herman
                                                                             Emma
 Spyro

 
                                                             Oja        

Rocio and Austin


                                                           
All of these cats had/have FeLV and Herman had FIV as well.

3. Don't they get sick all the time?

Not in my experience.  Herman is the only one who got sick and recovered before his final illness.  The others have remained well and happy.  Because they must be indoor only cats and not have contact with other cats, they don't catch kitty colds or other communicable diseases.

4.  I think it's cruel to keep a cat indoors all the time.

It would be irresponsible to let a FeLV+ cat roam the neighborhood because of the possibility that he/she would pass the disease on to other cats, but that doesn't mean that your cat can never go out.  I solved the problem this way:
When the weather is warm enough, Spyro and I go out and explore the back yard.

5. FIV+ and FeLV+ cats are too expensive.

This isn't necessarily true.  I won't try to hide from you that Herman was a very expensive cat.  When he first got diarrhea he got medicine after medicine trying to stop it; then he got really sick, requiring numerous trips to the vet and more medicines.  At the worst part of his illness I was spending $70 a month to keep him alive.  After he got well, he was still on two medicines to keep him from getting sick again for several more months and one more for the rest of his life to boost his immune system.  However the other cats have all remained healthy.  The only time Emma got sick was just before she went to the Rainbow Bridge.  That was one trip to the vet and one medicine.  It is recommended that FeLV+ cats be giving L-Lysine every day and Interferon as the vet prescribes.  These medicines are not terribly expensive.  In its most expensive form you can get 120 doses of L-Lysine for $12.  I get a bottle of Interferon that holds 200 doses for $35.

6.  All cats testing positive for FIV and FeLV should be put to sleep as soon as they are diagnosed, as their lives will be short and miserable.

I really hate this one.  Their lives will probably be short compared to other cats, yes, but they are far from miserable.  FIV+ cats can remain in remission for most of their lives and live almost as long as any other cat. There was a FeLV+ cat adopted from Felines and Friends New Mexico ten years ago and he is still going strong.  Just look at the pictures of the kitties above and consider this:  Herman was diagnosed at 1 1/2 and lived to be 5 1/4.  He had a wonderful life with me.  Emma was diagnosed at just over one and lived to be 1 3/4.  Look at her playing and tell me she shouldn't have been given those months.  Spyro was diagnosed at 1 1/2 and is as healthy as he can be and really enjoying life at two,  Oja was diagnosed at two and she is having a wonderful time.  Austin and Rocio were diagnosed as kittens.  They are running, playing, leaping, wrestling, eating, sleeping and having a ball.  All of them deserve the chance to live out their (probably) short lives.

26 comments:

Katnip Lounge said...

High paws all around to you! Nobody knows the number of their days, and each one is precious...as are all kitties. We think you should keep the boys...just saying! In our clowder it always takes the girls longer to adjust to newcomers, but they eventually do.

Simba said...

Thank you so much for posting this information. We have learned a lot we did not know from reading it.

Eric and Flynn said...

This is a great and informative post. We think you are wonderful to give these kitties a home where they know love and happiness.

Brian said...

That was really, really good info and I hope the humans pay attention. I am going to bookmark this post and share it when I see some mis-information out there.

Father Tom said...

We don't think we'll be adopting any more kitties for awhile, but this is such good information all the way around, for the person looking to give a kitty a home and a kitty who's waiting to find one.

Marg said...

WE certainly think you should be able to keep the boys. We want to hear more about them. What a wonderful post this is. Every cat or dog deserves a chance. You are so special to give these cats a really good chance for a happy life even if it is short. This is just terrific.

Angel and Kirby said...

Thank you for trying to educate people~

Tillie and Georgia said...

Those are all excellent points and we wish all those silly humans would learn these facts!!! We can see just how happy and healthy your kitties are and sense the enjoyment you get from having them :)
Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
Treasure,Tiger, JJ and Julie

FURKIDSMOM said...

Great facts! When we were looking for a kitty after Tamir went OTB we found one that was sweet. We kept asking if he was tested and they said yes, he's great. Well....Mom asked one more time and they said yes...he's great but he is FIV+. They kept saying it wouldn't be a problem to bring him into our home but Mom knew that was not a good idea. We hope he found a loving home.

The Florida Furkids

michico*Adan said...

These are very important information.
Thanks for let us know.

meowmeowmans said...

We LOVE you, Karen Jo! Thank you for posting this important information for all to read. :)

savannahspawtracks.com said...

Karen, this was simply a fantastic post...Mom Linda speaking here. We had two cats long ago, both about 5-7 years old..then my husband brought home a kitten for me, my very own kitty (the other two were his before me)..and my precious girl was diagnosed with FIP at about maybe 10 mos. The vet, this was in 1977, said as long as she and the other two did not fight, they didn't, it was OK to have her home. We allowed our cats back then outside, we are now better informed, anyway...my little Ixy lived until about 1 year or slightly more, and was killed on a busy street. Our other two cats never contracted the disease. I have never feared the growing immune disease cats are subjected to and would easily adopt one if I did not already now have Savannah who is disease free. Thank you Karen for your loving post and loving care of cats. Savannah's Mom Linda

The Island Cats said...

What a great post, Karen Jo. So many people think a kitty who tests positive for FeLV or FIV should be put to sleep right away. But you have shown that these kitties can live happy lives. More people need to be made aware of this.

Fenris and Family said...

Excellent post hopefully it will encourage more people to give these kitties a chance.

Grrreta said...

You have set such a great example showing how rewarding it is to adopt FIV/FeLV cats, and what wonderful, happy lives they can live. We're so glad that Rocio and Austin get to stay with you a while as fosters. They are adorable!

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

Thank you so much for this post! Humans need to know lots more about FIV+ and FeLV+ kitties. I'm sharing your post because I think you have such a great example of a happy FeLV household!

JB's Big and Small Worlds said...

Purrs to you Karen Jo! This is a wonderful post!
~JB

Prancer Pie said...

What a wonderful, informative, and PAWSITIVE post! XOXOXO

Katie and Glogirly said...

This was a truly WONDERFUL post. We learned so much that we didn't realize...thank you for sharing your first hand experiences with honesty and compassion.

You are so right...these kitties deserve a chance at love and life. : )

Glogirly & Katie

The Furries of Whisppy said...

This is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your hands on experience with FeLV+ and FIV+ kitties.

Gattina said...

I really admire you to take care of these cats ! I think the worst is when you have to say good bye forever after a always too short time.
My cat Mitzi lived for 8 years and then she got bitten by another cat. It was terrible she became so sick that it would have been cruel to insist to prolong her life and we had to take the very hard decision to put her asleep. It was in the 80th and this disease wasn't well known at all, no treatment either.

Cheryl Lincoln said...

Great post - our Ivy has FIV and we have had her with the other cats for 7 years and no problems.

cats of wildcat woods

Hannah and Lucy said...

I agree with you - cats should not be put to sleep unnecessarily - while they have quality of life and are happy and pain free it would be a crime to shorten their time with us.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

~*Connie*~ said...

I hope this post inspires someone to adopt a "positive kitty" :)

SuziQCat said...

Great information! Thank you for sharing this and squelching some rumors regarding these lovely cats. Everyone deserves a chance to be loved!

ABBY said...

This is an excellent post and very good information!