i know how you felt, you want to keep them just a little longer, but as you 
said, you look into their eyes and realize that it would be selfish of you to 
make them stay.  for their sake you have to make that decision.  i have done it 
3 times in the last 2 yrs and it was just as hard each time.  they did give me 
many years of happiness (Shadow and Shorty each 18 years and Snuggles 19 years) 
and they did seem to enjoy their time with me.  them, God gave me Annie and 
Homie to keep me company.  dorlis
---- Chris <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: 
> It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you that I lost my Romeo today to
> lymphoma.  I write not out of grief but to encourage all the newbies who
> wonder whether they can hang on with a FELV positive, whether they know
> enough to take care of them, whether they should mix, etc.  And the
> resounding answer is YES YES YES.  My Romeo was a throw away stray that I
> first met 7+ years ago when I helped someone out feeding a little colony
> near me.  He was already an adult (3-4 years old) who would come running
> across the field when I’d whistle and meow the whole way so I wouldn’t miss
> him.  He would get underfoot, get bullied by the other cats, bury
> everybody’s food, and just rub up against my leg for some loving.  I knew
> someone had been unkind to him cause if I raised my hand, he’d scamper away,
> just out of reach, cowering.  
> Fast forward two years and we had one of the coldest NY winters we’ve had in
> a long time.  One weekend, we were expecting zero degree temps and a major
> snowstorm.  Romeo was the last of the colony and I knew I had to bring him
> in.  I even had an adoptive home ready—but he turned out to be positive and
> they couldn’t handle it.  Soooooo, he stayed in my room for a few weeks,
> watching my every move, figuring out the TV and the vacuum cleaner weren’t
> that bad.  Slowly, he started coming out of his crate at night when he
> thought I was asleep.  Little baby steps—first the food dish got moved next
> to his crate.  Then the litter box in the bathroom.  And slowly, he’d come
> out during the day.  I knew we won the battle when I peeked out over my
> monitor to spot him on my bed.  You could see it in his face—this is
> niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice and from that point on, he was totally
> comfortable being in and around we humans.  Funny thing is that he never
> really wanted to get out—he rarely sat at the window—the couch and the bed
> were always much more comfortable for him!
> Over these last 4 ½ years, Romeo turned into the most loving cat you’d ever
> want to meet.  Only thing I could never do was pick him up or restrain him
> in any way---he was just too scared.  But he’d jump up on me, lie on my
> chest as I was trying to get to sleep, follow me around like a puppy dog and
> otherwise just kept thanking all the humans he met for being safe and warm
> and loved.  My other cats were a bit leary of him and Tucson never did take
> much of a liking to him—all jealousy, I’m sure.  But Romeo persevered and
> the two of them had come to terms with each other...
> His final illness took him quickly.  He’d never been real sick before—had
> some gum and teeth problems a couple of times, but that was it.  Going to
> the vet was a major trauma for him so I’d always worked with my wonderful
> vet to keep those visits to a bare minimum.  But today was one of those days
> that I knew he had to get to the vet asap.  He’d been feeling poorly during
> the week and over the weekend, he started breathing very hard—like he
> couldn’t catch his breath.  He’d been on antibiotics for what I thought was
> another gum problem but when we got to the vet, I knew it was a whole lot
> more.  My vet sent me immediately to our local specialty hospital and they
> confirmed the lymphoma.  He had a large mass in his chest, his lungs had
> filled up with fluid, and I knew that emotionally and physically, he could
> never withstand an aggressive course of treatment that in all likelihood
> would only give him a short extension of his life.  So, I made that decision
> we all dread after I looked in his eyes and knew he was telling me it was
> time.  I stroked him to the end and told him I loved him.
> And do I regret taking him in—ABSOLUTELY NOT.  He gave me so many wonderful
> memories and he will always be in my heart.  And did he regret coming
> inside—ABSOLUTELY NOT—he had almost 5 years of a wonderful life and I know
> that had he stayed out, he would have died a miserable death from the cold
> and hunger or an infection and he would have been alone.  We can’t save them
> forever—but we can give them some wonderful time and we can all learn so
> very much about life from these little guys.  
> Christiane Biagi
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