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?
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:
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.