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Should I be worried about this?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've been reading about FeLV and FIV at this board and I feel so badly about the cats that have been diagnosed positive, and here's my worry.

We put some food in a plastic container on the porch that Pumpkin was eating the night we took her in, but after we placed this food on the back porch, a larger black and white cat was eating from this dish. After Pumpkin ate some leftovers from the same dish, she wandered over to an old food dish on the porch from the other day (it was practically empty). This is when Pumpkin began meowing non-stop, as she was still very hungry. My daughter then opened another can of cat food and dumped it into the first dish, that was just used by the black and white cat. Is Pumpkin at risk of getting any diseases from sharing the dish with this other cat or by eating from the dish that was out the other night?

When we took her to the vet, he tested her for FeLV and FIV, but that was the morning after she ate cat food from those plastic dishes. Should I be worried and have her retested??
post #2 of 10
I actually wouldn't be too worried. I KNOW fiv doesn't pass that easy. I'm not sure about FELV. Are they up to date on shots? If they are I think that you are safe for sure. Try not to worry to much!
post #3 of 10
I'm the one that has been having the FeLV problem. I talked to a LOT of people on the topic, and got very mixed responses such as: they can contract from sharing a food dish, they can only get it from fighting, they can get it from contact with bedding, they can get it from cross-grooming. Frankly, I'm convinced that no one really knows for sure. One of my cats that caught it was vaccinated, and never fought - so he had to have gotten it thru either sharing a food bowl, litter box, or grooming the infected kitten - over a period of about 6 months.

The latest research suggests that vaccinations are about 60% effective. An exposed cat has a 25% chance of catching it. So with the vaccination, your cat's odds are about 10% of contracting the disease. Kittens born to an infected mother are almost always ill (in the 90+% range).

If you are letting Pumkin outside, you should have her tested at least once a year during annual vaccinations, or 30 days after interaction with a suspicious cat. The Elisa test won't show up a positive until the virus has gotten into their system and they build antibodies to it. Most vets recommend a test at 30 days, and if suspicious, repeat the test in 30 days. Kittens really shouldn't be tested until they are at least 6-8 weeks old. Elisa tests can show both false positives and false negatives.

A precaution you can take is to bring out fresh bowls that have been dishwasher sterilized each time you feed her outside. The heat from the dishwasher will kill the virus. We also chose to bring our indoor/outdoor cat permanently indoors, as we know that FeLV is in our neighborhood.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
It almost seems as if a cat becomes exposed to the illness, its body creates antibodies as a defense mechanism, and then the antibodies either give the cat a certain immunity or the cat eventually succumbs from the illness/related illnesses.

What's so ironic about Pumpkin is that we would have never gotten her unless she ate the food from the food dish that we placed on our back porch that night.

And you're right about the information available. I did a search for FeLV/FiV, and sources say cats only get the diseases from a bite or direct contact from saliva to blood, yet other sources attribute the disease to sharing of food dishes and grooming.

Pumpkin is a strictly indoor cat, now, and she's confined to the basement. She doesn't seem to want to go outside (there are only three small basement windows), and she will only walk up a few steps to the basement landing, then wait there. She never ventures up the second flight of steps to the first floor, but I always close the basement door and she probably realizes there is no exit.

As I'm such a worry wart, I'll be calling the vet today and asking some questions. Sadly, it looks like more quarantine for the kittens and Pumpkin will be spending more time alone in the basement.
post #5 of 10
Originally posted by caterpillar
As I'm such a worry wart, I'll be calling the vet today and asking some questions
Me too. Having had FeLV hit my household and my feral colony has made me overly protective of my cats. The rooms that I have used for quarantine have a much better set up these days.

As I researched FeLV and found the gross contradictions of information out there, I chose to be very careful about separating what I'll judge as mere speculation versus fact-based knowledge. University sites tend to be more accurate, but you have to be careful how old the information is. There has been a lot of new findings on FeLV in the last few years due to the fact that the progression of the disease is similar to human AIDS. I found a cat-specialist that works with university research centers as my fundamental guide.

My vet summed it up in his own practical country-vet way: some cats are not gonna get it no matter how much exposure they have to it and some cats are gonna catch it from a sneeze. I truly hope Pumpkin is one of the former!!
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Pumpkin was a stray, homeless, lost or abandoned kitten (8 or 9 mos. old) that made her way to our house the night of September 30th, most likely by following one, two, or three stray or feral cats that were eating cat food we placed on the back porch.

My daughter and I placed the food on the back porch, hoping that our lost cat, Mysty, might possibly return since the seasons are changing. (Mysty has been missing since April). I know it was a longshot, and we still tried, but we never imagined several stray cats appearing on the back porch for food. And we didn't expect Pumpkin, obviously very hungry and weak, to appear.

We took Pumpkin to the vet the next day for tests because I was worried about her being a stray, being exposed to other cats outdoors, and exposing my other two kittens. Thankfully, she tested FeLV and FiV negative on October 1st.

I began worrying about FeLV/FiV when I started reading posts at the Feral Colonies forum. I was completely unaware and ignorant that cats could catch these diseases using the same food dish.

I did call the vet and they said that the chances of her catching FeLv/FiV are about 1%-5%, very low, from that encounter with shared food dishes the one night, or possibly, one or two other nights on our back porch. They also said it takes about two or three months for antibodies to set in until the kittens/cats test positive for the virus. In retrospect, Pumpkin could have caught FeLv a few weeks to a month before she ate the food on our back porch from something else! This is so nerve-racking!

The vet's office also told me FeLV/FiV is transmitted by saliva and blood, so there you go, the saliva from grooming and food dishes can be a culprit!

Now I can keep Pumpkin in quarantine for two more months (my family is going to kill me!) or I can risk exposing her to my other two kittens, Cindy and Lucy. The risk is very small, but there is still a risk. The choice is mine. What would you do??

post #7 of 10
I would definitely recommend quarantine, but the length of time for a FeLV retest is another area of disagreement between the experts. Cornell University website suggests a 3 month wait time. Your vet calls for 2 months. A cat-specialist that I worked with and an FeLV+ shelter suggested 30 days. You should quarantine until the retest - suggest you work with your vet to see what he/she is comfortable with. I'm not speaking for FIV here, only experience is with FeLV.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
about the incubation period. Maybe my vet is saying 2 months because it's safely between one month and three months, just to be sure.

I've opted for keeping Punkin (Punky) in quarantine as long as we possibly can. She's in the basement and today I was able to bring her upstairs for about an hour and a half while Cindy and Lucy were napping in the laundry room. Cindy or Lucy actually opened one of the laundry room cupboards, knocked down some plastic cups and a cap from the swimming pool!

Tonight I purchased an air cleaner for the basement as I'm worried about the mold, dust, etc.. with Punkin living there. Punkin goes through the cutest routine of kneading her paws while standing upright (she looks like a little prancing pony), curling next to you with her head resting on your leg, then climbing and curling up on your lap. She's such an affectionate kitten.

Thanks so much for posting, Momofmany. Your information has been invaluable and I have to give all of the forum members credit for posting. I'm so tired that sometimes I fall asleep at the computer. Well, I've had a tiring day/night today, so sorry if I haven't been able to post that much.

The next time I take Punkin in for her second vaccination which will be in about three more weeks, I'll ask the vet some of the questions you've raised, Momofmany. I also forgot to ask if there were any cases of FeLV or FIV in our area. Thanks, again.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
While browsing some of the forums, I've noticed some cute Halloween pictures. I'm thinking of making a Halloween "Pumpkin" page featuring our new kitty.

I also got a chance to take some digital photos of butterflies on purple verbenas. What's interesting about these butterflies is that they boast the same colors as tortie cats. I'm almost positive that the butterflies aren't monarchs and they could be painted ladies.
post #10 of 10
Cindy's and Lucy's page is quite cute. Feel free to list it on our sister site www.meowhoo.com so others can enjoy it!
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