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FIV cat

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have been reading these threads for a little bit now and found them interesting but now I am in need of some assistance, so I thought I'd give it a try. I have 14 cats, who were all strays, and recently took in another but this last one tested positive FIV. My vet says I should put him to sleep since he is contagious to my other cats but I haven't had the heart to do it. He is about a year and a half old, black, male, very friendly, loves to cuddle and purrs quite loudly. He trusts me so completely that I want to do the best for him and I hope that doesn't mean killing him. I contacted some no-kill shelters but they won't take him in. He is currently living in a separate bedroom and I visit him for a couple hours each night aafter work but then I feel I am neglecting my other cats.

I did find one place that would take him but they keep their cats in cages and I can't imagine him living his life out in a cage.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to handle this situation? or have any contacts with a place or person that would take him in?

post #2 of 10
FIV is a little tricky. No, it is not a death sentence. There are many cats living with the disease. It usually will take a special person to understand that at some point, the vet bills may rise. It could be months to years, but eventually the immune system will break down and they may need some supportive care. There are also people out there who only care for FELV or FIV positive cats. I know of some people with just one or two other cats that will take one in. The tricky part in your situation is that there are several cats. Being that I have 11 myself, I know there will be a time where one of them gets into a fight. When you have just a few, the chances of them fighting is slim and the transmission is unlikely. I don't know of any specific organization that will take an FIV kitty. The options that I know of would be to contact a local non profit and ask if they would be willing to find the right home and you can foster while they are looking. The other is to search around yourself. You could also decide to keep this cat in a seperate room and possibly adopt another FIV kitty to stay for company.
Also, did the vet do a snap test or was the blood sent to a lab for an Elisa test? the snap tests can sometimes bring up false positives.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
The vet did the kit test in the office and then took more blood and sent it off to a lab. He told me about the false positives and said that was why it was necessary to do the second test. I don't know what kind of test was done the second time, but when it came back positive, he said it was conclusive.

I know of a no-kill shelter in town that had a FIV positive cat that was just adopted. A friend at work volunteers there and told me this...but they keep the cats in cages until they are adopted. I am going to call them this weekend and see if they can contact the people who adopted the one and see if they would take in another. Or, like you said, maybe they would let him live with me until they find a home for this little guy.

I am not concerned about the money. I had a cat with kidney disease and was giving him fluids at the end along with everything else. To me, the money was well spent. If that was my only concern, I would be ok with the situation, but I have to be concerned about the other cats, since they are my responsibility (and my kids). If he had to be sick, I wish it was something I could treat that wasn't contagious. I would keep him and give him the best care I could for how ever long he lived...but unfortunately, that is not the case here.

Thanks for your reply. It gave me hope. I needed that since lately, I have gotten quite depressed about this little guy's fate.
post #4 of 10
I am glad this guy is going to at least get a chance. The vet I worked for a few months ago took an FIV positive kitty in. We were going to try and find a home, but the longer Morris stayed there, the more attached they got. They only had 2 other kitties and they both are over 10 years old. So they decided to let Morris out with them. They don't fight, so the the other 2 should be fine. He also decided that the other cats were already over 10, so if they did contract it, they had lived a very long healthy life and would still have many more to come. It is people like you who give us hope that there are kind people in this world!!
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the kind words. My vet says my house is a mini-animal shelter. All my cats have been strays that I have taken in. Most were in my yard. I have a broken window in my garage and I put a plastic bag over it so it works like a pet door. It blocks the wind and cold but the cats come and go. In their half of the garage I have old furniture, carpets and instead of rafters above, there is a full floor with boxes for them to crawl in and get away from any drafts. I feed them in the garage and I have water dishes out all year round (heated ones for winter). If the cats seem friendly, I take them in. There is one cat in the garage now and he's been there for 3 years. He comes and goes but doesn't want to be taken in, so I do the best I can for him.

I have been so torn apart about what to do for this affectionate little guy. He lays in my arms and looks up at me, so trusting, purring so loud and I say to him "how can I kill you". If this cat is so affectionate to me and I've had him about a month, he must have been just as affectionate to the previous owner and I wonder how they could just dump him. As it is, when I find a home for him, I will miss him terribly. I wonder if the previous owner ever thinks of him or misses him. They sure missed out on a lot of love from this little guy.

I am just as determined as ever to find this guy a good home where he can have the run of the whole house. I will find him a good home whether it takes 1 week or 1 year. Your words of encouragement have helped. I just wish I knew someone who could give him a good home with maybe another FIV positive cat as a playmate...but I'll find that special home for him. I have promised him and will do my best.
post #6 of 10
Hi Pattyb,

I live in NYC. I have been volunteering at a NOKILL animal shelter, with FIV and FeLV cats. The shelter's name is Animal Haven, in Flushing, Queens, NY.

I know you live in a different state, but I will post the website here and the phone number, in case you wish to call them. They may be able to advise you as to a solution to your FIV kitty.


I wish you luck.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Does your shelter keep all the cats in cages? Or do they have run of a room with windows, cat trees and toys? If I knew of a no-kill shelter that would take him and that he wouldn't spend his life in a cage (until he was adopted), I would pay the airfare and send him there. It would be worth the price just to know he would be happy and would have a good life with other cats to play with.

Thanks for the info...and I will contact them, if not to place him, at least for their input.
post #8 of 10

Here is the way the FIV room is kept.

The only time they cage a cat is when a cat may come down with a case of ringworm or something else that they have to be separated temporarily from the other cats. Otherwise, they all roam free in the room.

The cats are kept their whole lives there, unless they manage to adopt them, (which is not easy because of their illness).

Now, I must tell you, the room is too small for all the cats in there. I think there are about 15 now....haven't counted. The shelter is in an old house, and they are trying to raise funds to get a bigger facility, but in the meantime, they use this house.

Since the room in my opinion is too small for that many cats, they get on each other's nerves sometimes. Some of the cats are very mellow, on the other hand. Some are testy. Depends on the day.

The cats are given their meds, food changed every day, and litter boxes cleaned. (although the only type of litter they use is shredded newspaper. I don't think they can afford anything else. They take donations of money and supplies anytime)

They have lots of towels to lie on, and toys around the room. There is a cat tree in that room, but also they can climb or jump to the top of the open cages, which they do a lot. They also have places to scratch. They have converted cages to catbeds, with the doors open and towels in there. .......belongs to who gets it first.

The room is air-conditioned in the summertime, and there is plenty of heat in the winter.

Over all, it comes down to this:
Do I think this is a perfect environment for a cat? No. It is overcrowded and they get really bored. Some of the cats hate it in the room, some don't seem to mind.....BUT.... if it is a choice of putting a kitty down, or having it live a decent life with a chance of adoption, I think the shelter would be the choice I would make if I were in your shoes.

Yours is a very, very tough decision. I am so sorry for you and this little kitty.

If I can answer any other questions, please feel free to ask.
Hope this helped.
post #9 of 10
You know patty...that's a good question. Why did someone throw a very lovable cat onto the streets! I ask myself that question on a daily basis right now. I work for an Army vet, where it seems that military families find it appropriate to dump thier cats and even dogs when it is inconvienent for them to move with them. Over the last 4 days, we have taken in 2 cats who were left behind. The real kicker is that they had the nerve to declaw them and then throw them out. With any living thing, they deserve better!!!
As for putting him in a shelter enviroment. If you can foster him, it is really the best. When you put an immune suppressed cat into an overcrowded enviroment, they are bound to pick up a virus that may take thier lives. These shelters often do not have the funds to care for them when they get sick. The viruses that most cats pass can be transported through people.
You are only one person and can only do so much. If you can care for him at home while looking, that's great. For now, he has someone to give him the attention he deserves. I will try and look into some options for you this weekend. I am at a pet expo tomorrow, but Sun and Mon I will be home and will search.
post #10 of 10
Although most of these are not in your area. It may be worth a try to talk to them and get some more ideas.

Feline FIV Resources and Shelters

Cause for Paws - West Virginia. 304-535-2810.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Placement counselors. Utah. 435-644-2001, ext. 114. This organization also suggests:
Fried's Cat Shelter - Charges $100.00 for cats. Michigan City, IN. 219-874-6932.
Good Mews Animal Shelter - Call for hours. Marietta, GA. 770-499-CATS.
M'Shoogy's Emergency Rescue - 11519 Rt. C Highway, Savannah, MO 64485. 816-324-5824.
Northeast Animal Shelter - Salem, MA. 978-745-9888.
People for Animal Rights - Kansas City, MO. 816-767-1199.
Rose Hope - Meridian Ct.
St. Charles Humane Society - St. Charles, MO.
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