Lynne, I thought you might like to see this compilation of affirming
stories from current and one-time listmembers that I put together in
2006. (Sheila and Michelle, I'll add yours if that's ok!)
Kerry
 

Bailey, diagnosed FeLV+ at 5 months of age, will turn 11 years old 

in May of 2006. He has 5 housemates, all of whom are negative and FeLV
vaccinated--they eat, sleep, and play together, 

groom each other, and on the rare occasion have disagreements. In the
almost 11 

years that they have all lived together nobody else has become positive.

Belinda, Sumner, WA [Belinda is a co-founder of felineleukemia.org and
unstinting in her work on behalf of FeLV cats]

~~~~~

When I found "Wowie" outside my office in November, 2005 and adopted
him, knowing he had FeLV,

I thought I might have to distance myself

from the situation, but I knew that no one would give him a better home
than

I could. Today Wowie is thriving and 

I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the love and joy this cat has

brought into my life. I feel lucky every single day...just ask anyone I
keep

blabbing to about him! No matter how long his life may be, I will always
be

grateful for the time he has been a part of my life and know that
because I

gave him a chance, he has lived a more comfortable, warmer, loved
existence

in my home. And boy, does he show that he appreciates it!

Rebecca Ulloa, Massapequa, NY

 

~~~~~

We have THREE cats with FeLV. Peridot is a beautiful orange tabby and he
came to us over 7 years ago. The vet estimated his age then at about 4.
He is now at least 11 years old and is as healthy as any other cat. He
has had no symptoms. 

My mother and I rescued FeLV kitties Lovey and Merry from Georgia in
February last year and they are now over 2 years old and both healthy
without any symptoms. They all interact with our other three cats
without any problem. My non-FeLV cats receive their shots each year, my
FeLV cats receive Interferon daily, and all of them get a dose of
L-Lysine daily. I expect all of them to live a nice long healthy life. 

Janine, Herbster, WI 

~~~~~

Samantha, Ariele and Salome came to me as kittens. I didn't know they
were FeLV positive until later. Samantha lived till she was 3, Ariele
lived till she was 4 1/2 and Salome lived until 9 1/2. Salome was our
joy and the kitty love of my husband's life. Siggie, almost 6, a
negative cat, lived alongside of all of the FeLV+ cats, kept up to date
with the FeLV booster. He remains negative to this day. 

Terri Brown, Trenton, NJ

~~~~

I have a wonderful, loving former "throw away" named Dixie Louise. We
are not real sure how old she is but I suspect about 2 years old. She
was tested for FeLV + in June 2005 when I took her to the vet to be
spayed. She lived on my mother's patio and in a pine thicket for several
months (including the entire winter in a Rubbermaid shelter) before I
took her to the vets'. She is an indoor cat now and has been since she
tested. She has had no real health issues. She is one of the sweetest
cats I have ever known. My vets have assured me that FeLV is not a death
sentence and were visibly relieved when I decided to keep the little
homeless cat instead of having her killed. 

Marylyn

~~~~

I adopted Cricket as a kitten and he was 2 when I found out he was FeLV
positive. 

Cricket lived a good life until he was 4.5 years old. 

He was such a special kitty--he liked to shower,

LOVED to play, slept with my husband and I every

night, and just captured my heart from the start. I

miss him terribly, but despite the pain of losing him,

I will never regret adopting him. 

Wendy E., Dallas, TX

~~~~~

My first FeLV cat was Calawalla Banana Booboo. She was outside my house,
playing regularly, when I began feeding her and took her inside. I
couldn't believe it when the vet said that she tested positive for FeLV.
Fortunately, my vet was wise and sympathetic, and said that she'd
probably live a shortened life, but looked healthy in every other way.
She lived till she was almost 3 years old, and died after a short
illness (lymphoma). I had also taken in a cute little FeLV playmate for
her, Mittens, who lived till almost 3 years old, and an older more
sickly kitty that was positive for FeLV and FIV - Mr. Black Kitty, who
lived for about a year. 

I now have 5 FeLV cats - three are about 8-9 years old, and two are
almost 3 years old. All are on low-dose oral interferon, and doing very
well - hale, hearty and healthy. They've all been wonderful cats. I'm
very glad that I have these sweet cats, and never regret for a moment my
lessons from the earlier cats who had shorter lives - Calawalla,
Mittens, and MBK. 

Gloria Lane, Little Rock, Arkansas

~~~~

Angel Paassht tested FeLV+ when she was just over a year old. We had

her another 7 years and 7 months. She was so full of life...an "eternal

kitten" right up to the end. We wouldn't trade our time with her for

anything in the world. 

Becca, Nashville, TN

~~~~

My kids and I fostered a pregnant cat for the Humane Society who had 6
kittens. When they were about 2 weeks old the Humane Society brought us
3 orphans about the same age and introduced them to the mom. Later the
same week they brought 4 more orphans about a week older than the
others. After losing 1 kitten to injury, sending the mom cat back to the
shelter and 4 of the kittens back to the Humane Society we still had 8.
Our 8 (the Herd) were almost 6 months old when we found out they were
FeLV +. The Humane Society told us they had to be euthanized. They
allowed me to pick them up from the vet so the kids could say goodbye
but pushed to euthanize the next day. This was extremely difficult for
all of us, especially as these were my children's first pets. Thankfully
I found this group (felineleukemia.org mailing list) who have given me
information on the FeLV issues and a lot of support. I can't imagine not
having the Herd here .... there's so much we would have missed out on!
My friends love to come over for the "show" the cats put on .... just
playing and being themselves. 

Stitch ...(my son's cat) is our little napkin thief. 

Pogo ... has a very intense personality and seems to run the house. She
has almost figured out how to turn the doorknob to get into my room. Of
course I'm hers and how dare I pay attention to anyone else! 

Teddy ... is everyone's baby ... the ultimate lazy male :) 

Oreo ...licks my ankles every morning as I get coffee.

Salem...seems to think he's neglected no matter how long you sit and pet
him! 

Bandit ... has been fun just because he drives my 18-year-old daughter
nuts. He's decided he belongs to HER and pretty much ignores the rest of
us. 

Houdini ... my daughter's cat, little Miss Prissy, thinks she should be
spoiled rotten. Snarls (while purring!) if you pick her up when she
doesn't want to be !

Boots .... I don't think will ever lose the kitten bounce. Has taken to
following my son around everywhere hoping he's got the string in his
pocket to play with her. 

They are only about 7 months old now and all very active and healthy.
They deserve a good long life, not what was in store for them through
the Humane Society.

Karen, Mansfield, OH

~~~~

I took in 5 kittens and an adult in December 2005 after striking up a
conversation in a shelter while waiting to buy Xmas cards. The lady I
got talking to had come to the shelter because she needed help in
catching a number of cats in her yard that she had been feeding since
October. The shelter couldn't help and, afraid that she would take them
to the pound and they would be euthanized, I trawled Chicago over the
next few days in hopes another shelter would have room for them. Nobody
had room, but PAWS said they would put them on their web site for
adoption as long as I fostered them, which I readily agreed to do. The
cats turned out to be feral and I was shocked to learn that all the
kittens had FeLV. Adoption seemed pretty unrealistic, so they became
*my* cats, and my second bedroom became their permanent home (I already
had 3 negative cats). I threw out the bed and filled the room with
begged or borrowed cat furniture and lots of toys. The kittens had a
ball: they loved playing ping-pong in the middle of the night--I would
be wakened by the thud-thud against the door--and the carpet was their
racetrack. Over the following 2 years, 4 of the kittens, Caramel, Levi,
Flavia and Snoball, gradually sadly succumbed to FeLV-related illness
but Mickey, now 2 1/2, is still bouncing with health, as is Flossie, who
remained negative on re-testing. [Update: Mickey, now 4, retested
negative in 2007!]

I would not change a thing; my FeLV furballs have enriched my life so
much, taught me such a lot, and gained me lots of wonderful friends on
the felineleukemia.org mailing list. It seems so very wrong to euthanize
FeLV cats simply because they may become symptomatic--even those that
live short lives deserve to enjoy the brief time they have. Fortunately
some vets, though not nearly enough, are enlightened. I believe
education, education, education is the answer.

Kerry, Chicago, IL

~~~~

For 18 months I was a live-in volunteer at a large cat sanctuary in
mid-MIchigan. At its largest, the population was approximately 600 cats.
That included about one hundred each of FIV and FeLV kitties. 

Like most people, I knew next to nothing about either virus when I began
to work there. 

The very first day, part of my job was to medicate five or six of the
FeLVs. Within five minutes of being in the room with them, being purred
at and snuggled by and surrounded by fifty or so cats of all ages, all I
could think of was, "How could anyone ever think that you don't have the
right to be on this earth?" 

The most important things I learned are that FeLV cats are just plain
normal cats, until and if the virus is activated; that vets are NOT the
best source of information because for too long, the treatment of choice
has been euthanasia, so there's been little incentive to keep up with
the research; that the biggest impediment FeLV cats face is running out
of time. Most healthy adult cats are able to throw off the virus within
a 90-120 day period, and there ARE homes out there for FeLVs. What they
need most is a safe place to await retesting--most shelters can't hold
them for retesting--and to enjoy themselves while their forever family
finds them. 

Since leaving the sanctuary, I spend a great deal of time educating
people--vets, potential adopters, etc--about the realities of FeLV (and
FIV), especially about how FeLVs can live safely with other cats,
particularly vaccinated ones. I work with rescues, with vets on
occasion, with shelters. I use the computer extensively to maintain
contacts with rescues, shelters, people with FIV/FeLV cats, and
transporters to try to find homes for as many of these special cats as I
can. 

I have photos, stories, information, ideas--if there is ANYTHING that I
can do to help, please do not hesitate to contact me. [email:
[EMAIL PROTECTED]; tel: 517-381-3482 (email much more reliable as
cats frequently knock phone off hook)]

MaryChristine Seeley, Okemos, Michigan [MaryChristine is a veteran
volunteer of FeLV/FIV shelters and rescues, and a longstanding and
hugely supportive presence on the felineleukemia.org mailing list]
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