Feline Immunodeficiency Virus facts presented by our Extremely Lovable FIV+ cats!
All of our spokes cats are available for adoption and would be a great asset to any family!
This past spring we have gotten in 6 FIV+ tom cats. We also have two more in house that will be tested in the next week or so that have a 50/50 chance of testing positive.
WHY ARE TOM CATS SO SUSCEPTIBLE TO FIV?
FIV is transmitted through deep bite wounds. Since unneutered toms tend to fight often we see a higher frequency of them testing positive for FIV. If a unneutered tom comes in with a lot of battle wounds the probability that he will test positive for FIV is more than 50%
HOW LONG CAN A CAT THAT IS FIV+ LIVE?
At our shelter we have had FIV+ cats since we began 16 years ago. Some of them succumb to the disease which attacks their immune system. But more times than not they live a good long life without many complications. Those like Timmy, despite his many wounds upon arrival have a great fight in them to overcome and keep going! So where there are no guarantees these guys have plenty of love to give their new families! Gordito, however is one of the exceptions to the rule. He is a very feral cat that will live at the shelter for life unless he can learn to trust again.
Timmy is a big brown tiger cat with a gentle soul! He has been out on his own for over 12 years and has the battle scars to prove it :( When he was trapped and brought to the shelter his ears were near stubs, either from frostbite or from fighting. He had a huge abscess on the back and almost all around his neck. Our vet put in a drain to help drain the wound. The drain was over 4” long and went from one side of his neck to the other. After a week the wound was cleaned and stitched up. They then found out that he had a severe UTI and bladder infection. He underwent treatment for this and then we had to get him strong enough to undergo a full dental. Even though he has been on his own and is not used to being around people, he has been nothing but a good sport as he has been treated and transported back and forth to the vet many times.
One of our managers has fallen in love with this big guy and spends hours holding him and talking softly to him hoping to let him know that he is among friends.
Most of the time he cowers in his litter box, so we gave him a second litter box that he can hide and sleep in. He allows us to touch him but still reacts with a flinch when we do. More than anything we hope that someone opens their heart and home to this beautiful gentle soul and allows him to live his next few years in comfort.
Timmy is over 10 years old but has bounced back nicely after his surgeries and is a very good eater!
Here’s his story…
Gordito was trapped down in Worcester MA. After finding out that he was FIV+ the rescuer started looking around for someplace that he could live and not be euthanized. He’s an extremely handsome young guy but he is extremely distrustful of people. If you get too close he will swat at you as he is so frightened. We will continue to work with him and hopefully he will learn to trust again. If not, He will have a lifetime home at the shelter as many of our feral cats do.
CAN THE FIV DISEASE BE PASSED TO OTHER CATS, PEOPLE OR OTHER ANIMALS?
It can be passed to other cats through deep bite wounds and reproduction. People and other animals cannot catch FIV from a positive cat. However, members of the same family can have a FIV+ sibling or offspring and not test positive themselves. Casual contact through litter boxes and food/water dishes doesn’t spread the disease.
Nicodemis and Lolita are a mother and son pair. Nico is FIV+, mom is not, yet they came in from the same household.
Nico is a very handsome and very lovable young boy came in with his mom (Lolita) a couple weeks ago. At first we didn’t notice that he had a puncture wound on his neck, as he would hide in the cage behind his mom. When we discovered it a couple days later we brought him to the vet and the wound was way worse than it looked on the surface. Much of the skin had died around it and he required 27 staples to pull the skin back together as you can see in the picture here. His staples have all been removed and he is doing fantastic! He is now able to be adopted and go to a new home (maybe even with his mom, who is also a fantastic and loving cat) The volunteers just love how wonderfully this young boy has come around. All he wants to do is be petted and loved!
CAN CATS BE TREATED FOR OR CAN THEY OUT GROW OUT OF A FIV+ DIAGNOSIS?
FIV has no cure at this time. A cat that tests positive can sometimes grow an immunity to the disease, however they will alway be a carrier. Cats can receive a vaccine against FIV however the best recommendation is to keep your cats inside. This way they won’t get tangled up with strays that may carry the disease. Also be sure to spay and neuter as that is the other way that the disease is spread.
Anderson was in a lot of trouble when he finally asked for help….
Anderson is a beautiful long haired orange tom cat. The lady who brought him in has been trying to catch him for a couple of years now. She had been feeding him but was never allowed close enough to touch him…until a couple of Saturdays ago when he came right up to her sliding glass door! She could tell right away that he was in trouble. She didn’t hesitate to open the door to help! As soon as she did he ran into house, climbed up on her bed and went to sleep. He was tired and knew that he needed help. It was then that she called our rescue.
“What do I do now?” She asked. I told her to wrap him in a towel and put him in a carrier and bring him over. When He came in he was sneezing blood all over the place from a severe Upper Respiratory Infection. We got him right to the vet who nebulized him, cleared his nasal passages and placed him on an antibiotic. Anderson was one of the cats featured on NH Chronicle on the day he arrived! If you saw that and see his picture here today, you can see what a wonderful transformation has taken place in his health and well-being. By running into the lady’s house he was asking for help! Luckily we were their to give it to him! His first two weeks at the rescue he did nothing but sleep and eat, so very happy to have someone tending to his needs and helping him to feel better. He is now all recovered, but because of his life on the streets as an unneutered male, he tested positive for FIV. He’s about 8 years old and is now looking to spend his time inside with a family during his retirement years!
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IF I WOULD LIKE TO ADOPT AN FIV+ CAT?
The first thing that we recommend is that you talk to your veterinarian. You should be well informed before adopting. We have had several cats with FIV go home and live for an average lifespan. The State of NH as of last July has lifted the ban on adoption of these wonderful cats. Prior to that the NH shelters were left with the option of euthanasia or housing them for life. Our rescue chose the latter and fought to have the law changed, as we could see what wonderful cats they were!
Just like Langdon here….
This young boy came from the same place as Timmy. His beautiful black coat doesn’t reveal the many scars that lie beneath. While getting neutered it was found that he had two growths in his mouth, one under his tongue and one on the roof of his mouth. Both were sent out for biopsy and thankfully were benign. His behavior was a bit unpredictable when he arrived but he has since become a big love bug. He’s very young 1-2 years so he has a lot of kitten still left in him and would love a home to roam around in. Until then the shelter offers a special FIV+ room that is going to be perfect for him as they offer catio access. He is hoping however that the shelter won’t be a permanent home for him as he is so young and sweet!
IS IT OKAY TO MIX FIV+ WITH MY CATS THAT ARE NOT FIV+?
There are two trains of thought on this some say definitely no while others see no harm. You should research it and feel comfortable bringing and FIV+ cat into your home. We have had several adopters who have brought FIV+ cats in to live with their non FIV cats. We have not heard of any instances where this has been problem. However, that is not a guarantee.
Fritz would do very well in a home with other cats, FIV+ or not, depending on your comfort level adding him to your family! He is only 2 years old and very sweet. He was brought in as a stray. Even though he was not in need of immediate medical care he did carry the battle wounds of life on the streets. He has been neutered and would love to find a family that would bring him in and give him lots of love and attention!
If you have any questions about adopting an FIV+ cat, please give us or your vet a call to discuss it. These cats are some of the most wonderful, gentle souls and deserve a loving and happy home, after all that they have been through. We hope through education that any stigma surrounding the adoption of these sweet cats can be put to rest.
As I write this we are scheduled to receive another very handsome young boy that has tested positive for FIV. We haven’t met him yet, but his rescuers describe him as “super, super sweet!” He will arrive Saturday, June 2nd. Please stop by to meet Tigger!!
Kitty Rescue is located on 11 Plantation Drive in Jaffrey, NH. Open hours are Tuesday and Thursday Evenings from 6-9 and Saturday mornings from 9-1.
We are a no kill cat sanctuary and adoption center for adoptable cats as well as feral cats. We are staffed completely by volunteers. There are NO PAID PERSONNEL.
How We Do It
Kitty Rescue & Adoption (KRA) relies solely on donations and adoption fees to sustain us. 100% of all monies are spent on the cats.