Please throw away the calendar and enjoy the time you have together. Dixie was full grown and then some when she came into my life. Someone had spayed her. She had wonderful manners. She was thrown away for reasons unknown and showed up at my Mom's. Eventually I decided she should be a farm cat and took her to Middletown Animal Clinic in Louisville to have her spayed (I didn't know this had already been done). That is when I found out about FeLV. She spent over three years with me and had everything I could give her. I would not trade a second with this wonderful little lady for anything. I have no way of knowing how old she was----maybe 2-4 years old--when she came into my life. She had the best care from MAC and a holistic vet, Betty Boswell and was healthy until a few days before she left this world. Love your little ones and let them love you. There are no promises...................Dixie left quickly and quietly and in the presence of her Person with whom she felt safest. A month after she left, she sent me a little kitten from the same pint thicket she came from and two weeks later she sent me another one (take two, they are small---and they really were). Both boys were about a pound and both had a hawk family who lived in the same pine thicket anxious to invite them to dinner---as an appetizer.

Love them. They have their path as do you. It may be long or short but enjoy the journey you share. You will not regret one who loves those who normally have a shorter road than we do, you may grieve but you will rejoice in the love you experience. Who knows, you may leave this world before the little ones.

On Jan 26, 2010, at 5:16 PM, Jane Lyons wrote:

Hi Avia
I've heard about the five year mark and I've also heard the three year obstacle and I've learned from my cat that
there are no guarantees for any of us.
When I got my cat she was highly symptomatic (URI, swollen glands, stomatitis, name it). I have had her for three years and she has recovered from everything with the exception of stomatitis. She is roughly four years old and I sweated getting her past the three year mark and of course I am trying to ignore the 'five year theory' because I think we can all become victims of statistics and other people's consideration. I am coping by doing everything I can to help her live as comfortably as possible for as long as possible. She is doing fine. I'm the one who needs to do the work. Ignore the woman from the rescue group. Every FeLV kittten
has its own path. Just keep loving them.


On Jan 26, 2010, at 2:15 PM, Avia Rauscher wrote:

I've been a member here for a while, although I don't post much. I lost a 20 month old cat (Cinder) to FeLV a year ago. We found out her status post-mortem and through subsequent testing of my other three cats found one of them (Onyx) to be FeLV+ as well (Elisa and IFA). The other two (Horus & Blackie) have been vaccinated, and will be re-tested soon. I did not separate them after learning that Onyx was + because - well, any of you who mix your +'s and -'s know why.

Although there is no 100% sure way to know which cat gave the FeLV to the other, we are working on the assumption that Onyx had it to begin with and gave it to Cinder. Cinder was 9 weeks old when we adopted from ACC, and Onyx was about 20 months old at the time. I got Onyx from a pet store (lesson learned!) and she was in sad shape, only six weeks old, dehydrated, malnourished, and with coccidia. I couldn't return her to the people who allowed her to get into that condition (as suggested by the vet I used at the time), but for whatever reason, testing her for FeLV never came up. Cinder was tested at the shelter, and came back negative. Horus and Blackie both tested negative when they joined our family. At first I thought Cinder tested false negative because of her age, but in my many conversations with many, many people it seems more likely that Onyx had it from birth (or shortly after, she has never been exposed to FeLV other than with Cinder) and gave it to Cinder (they were very close as almost as soon as I brought Cinder home). Cinder developed a URI shortly after leaving the shelter, which Onyx caught, of course. Onyx had a much harder time beating the URI, part of which was due to a poorly prescribed antibiotic. I realize now that it may have been the FeLV that made it so hard for her to kick it.

So, Onyx is now four years and a couple of months old. She is healthy and active, and I have been so happy that she seems to be one of those cats who lives a long time with this virus. Until I spoke to a woman from a rescue group doing cat adoptions in a nearby pet store. Through conversation I told Onyx's story and this woman kindly (hah!) informed me that the life expectancy for a cat with FeLV in the bone marrow is five years, so while I'm lucky she's survived this long, I shouldn't expect Onyx to be around a whole lot longer.

Which brings me to the advice I would like: What are the chances of a cat who is FeLV+ from birth living past 5? I have been reading all the posts about LCTI, but I am not clear on whether you start when they develop symptoms or while they are still healthy. Does anyone here know if recurrent FLUTD is commonly seen in FeLV+ cats? Horus tested negative and was vaccinated, but he's lost two pounds in the last month (his appetite seems fine) and is in the middle of his third bout of FLUTD in as many months - he's also asthmatic. I am in panic mode right now. Should I re-test him early? Any advice anyone here can give me would be very much appreciated.

Avia Rauscher
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