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feline leukemia

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have a cat that has feline leukemia. He was a stray but now is an inside cat and has been healthy for over a year. Six stray wild kittens came to my house. They look to be about 4 to 5 months old now and look healthy enough. My question is how long will they stay healthy? Feline leukemia has been in my neighborhood for years because the man up the street let his cat population get out of control. I'm almost positive they've been exposed. I don't know what to do. They go through about 8 bowls of food a day. I really can't afford to have them all spayed and neutered but hate to take them to the pound. I know when my cat got sick last year the vet bill cost over $300. I sure can't afford that. I live in a small town. No humane society here. Any advice? I'm at a loss. Thanks!
post #2 of 5
First of all thank you for taking care of your FeLV boy. Feleuk if left on its own typically infects approximately 25% of a cat population and drops down to approximately 10% within vaccinated cats. There is a lot of disagreement on how it is transmitted but what is generally agreed upon is that it can be spread thru cat fights or regular (not casual) contact such as sharing litter, food bowls and grooming.

Kittens due to their immature immune systems are more likely to catch it that adult cats. If their mother had it, the likelihood that they have it is over 90%, and their chances of making much beyond a year old is very slim.

If the mother of these kittens was not FeLV positive and they only had casual interaction with the other cats in the neighborhood, there is a good chance that they will not be positive.

My suggestion would be to catch one of them and get an Elisa test. If positive at their age, there is a good chance that they will all be positive. If in doubt, get an Elisa confirmed with the IFA, as the Elisa can show both false positives and negatives.

If you turn these kittens to animal control and they are feral, they will mostly likely put down (without any testing). Can you find a no-kill shelter group in your area that would be willing to help you? I know you said you live in a small town but there are a lot of rural animal rescue groups out there.

One way to find shelters is to go to www.petfinder.com. You can search for animals within a specified mile radius to your home and it will give you the shelter name when you do that. I know that my rescue group has driven 100 miles away to help folks in need. It will help if you offer some assistance (either trapping or financially) to the rescue group - most are all volunteer and work on a shoestring budget.

Good luck and keep us posted!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I will borrow a live trap from the city and have one tested. I'll check the wesite out. Hopefully I can find help in Tyler. That's about 75 miles away from me but would be worth the trip. Over a year ago some kittens came to my house. I found them all good homes. They looked very healthy at the time but got sick shortly after I gave them away. I felt so bad about it. That was before I knew about feline leukemia. I've always had cats but they all lived long healthy lives. I have one now that is close to 15 years old. Of course she tested positive for feline leukemia. That was a year ago and so far no problems. She's always been an inside cat but caught it from the stray I brought in. I'll keep you posted. Thanks!
post #4 of 5
Also call all your vets in the area and ask them if they have a crazy cat woman in mind that can help.If they do, leave your phone number with them and she will be in touch with you. That's how it works in my area, all the vets have my phone number and they give it out to people in need with my blessings.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
I will call the vet and ask. There used to be a lady here that took in strays and had them spayed and neutered. She had so many she'd use a chicken trough to feed them. She loved them all. Her husband was a truck driver. He'd find kittens abondoned at rest stops and bring them home everytime. Unfortunately they moved and I have no idea where they moved to. Bound to be others like them around though.
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