Hi Anna,
I just wanted to say "welcome" , this is a good group and a lot of help to me 
when my kitty tested positive at 2 years old, she had previously test negative 
as a kitten.  I think the best advice I got was good food, low stress and lots 
of love.  Give them the best food you can afford and as much love as you can (I 
know the latter will be easy, sounds like you are already there:)
I had a big ole silver Maine Coon named Sylvia who passed about three years 
ago, I still love that name and always will.  
Best wishes to you and your girls,
Laura
--- On Mon, 10/5/09, Anna Waltman <anna.walt...@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Anna Waltman <anna.walt...@gmail.com>
Subject: [Felvtalk] New to FLV and have a cat that just tested positive...
To: felvtalk@felineleukemia.org
Date: Monday, October 5, 2009, 5:11 PM

Hi everyone,
I've been lurking around for the last day or two reading your posts.  My
darling Sylvia, the first cat I have owned as an adult, just tested positive
for FLV on both the in-office and IFA tests.  She's one of my best friends
and I'm devastated; she was negative as a kitten and has lived inside for
most of her life (as a little baby, she was a stray-- I adopted her from the
SPCA at five months, and I know she was there for a while before I adopted
her).  She was given a confident all-clear by my former vet to move with me
to Massachusetts and live in a multiple-cat household less than three months
ago.

Upon moving, it became obvious that Sylvia doesn't like being left alone in
the apartment for long periods of time (prior to our move, we lived with my
retired parents and their two dogs so she was almost never home alone). I
decided to adopt a kitten, Beatrice, a few weeks after we moved in, after
Sylvia had gotten comfortable in the apartment.

So when Sylvia started meowing strangely and acting a little lethargic, I
assumed it was a kitty flu but took her to the vet anyway, just to be safe,
and tested her just to be absolutely sure she was still negative.  What a
horrible surprise.  She's been living with Bea for a month or two now and
they're best friends; they wrestle all the time, share food bowls, groom
each other, etc.  I feel sick with guilt about bringing a young kitten into
a house with a FLV+ cat, and now chances are I have two positive cats to
care for.  Our current vet is wonderful, though, and she feels that if we
vaccinate Bea ASAP and keep a close eye on Sylvia (treating her problems as
they arise), there's a good chance we can keep both of them healthy for a
long time.  She says she has other patients and co-workers with FLV+ and
negative cats living in the same household who never pass it to each other.
I'm feeding them a mix of Wellness and Innova ENVO and giving the kitten
multivitamins to boost her immune system and help her fight off the
exposure.

I'm a young graduate student in an MA/PhD program and I don't have a ton of
money.  These kitties had been the most stable thing in my life and this
diagnosis is totally eating me up, from the inside out.  I love them to
pieces and want to be the best cat-parent I can to my girls (having chronic
illnesses myself that significantly increase my risk of certain health
problems, I'm as empathic about this as anyone).  The horrible potential of
this disease breaks my heart every time I think about it.  My childhood cat
passed away a few months before I got Sylvia, and I can't bear to lose
another one like that (he was very sick for a long time before he died, but
we don't know what it was.  Could've been FLV or FIV; he wasn't tested every
year, though he was vaccinated.  He was indoor/outdoor and a fighter).

What do you wish you had known when your cat was first diagnosed, if
anything?  If there is any advice people have, I would appreciate it, and as
I gain experience caring for my girls I will share what has worked and what
hasn't with anyone who asks.

Many thanks and best wishes to you and your families, furry and otherwise.
Anna
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