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] _____________________________________________________________________________ Effective September 1, 2007, we have changed our name to Mayer Brown LLP. IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE. 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