Just wanted to introduce myself, I've been reading the board for awhile.. My history with FELV cats started out not so good. I found a beautiful gray kitty that I spent months feeding outdoors trying to coax her in. At last she rewarded me for my patience and allowed me to pick her up and bring her inside. She was very sweet and I kept her in a spare bedroom before introducing her to my other cats. I took her to the vet and she tested negative for FELV. The vet recommended to keep her in the bedroom for a few more months to make sure she was okay and I did until it was time to have her spayed. After I dropped her off, I received a phone call telling me she was FELV positive and recommending that I put her down. I was distraught and asked if I could have some time to think about it. I called everyone I knew and tried to get a crash course on FELV which wasn't easy with all the misinformation out there. And misinformation is what I got. The vet told me she wouldn't last long; that she was a danger to my other cats; and also she was a danger to my mother who has MS. That last piece of news sealed the deal. I agreed to let them put her down.
I still carry the guilt of that decision, especially now that I have met and rescued Thomas O'Malley. I found him outside of work begging for food and in awful condition. I immediately took the rest of the day off and drove him to a different vet. He tested positive immediately for FELV. When the vet asked me what I wanted to do, I was surprised she gave me a choice. She expressed that of course I had a choice and that under the right conditions, FELV cats can lead long, happy lives. I was stunned, elated, filled with guilt, shocked, overwhelmed and so much more. I knew only one thing. I could not possibly live with the guilt of putting another FELV cat down. So after they treated Tom for every parasite imaginable, they loaned me a cage to keep him separated, and wished me luck. At first I kept him on my screened back porch and he accepted this gratefully. I quickly learned he was part Siamese, because he loved to talk. I tried to keep distance between us at first because I knew I had to find him another home and I didn't want to get attached. Time passed and no one wanted him. He went from the cage, to dominion over the entire porch. It got hot so he moved into my bathroom. He was claustrophobic so he got the spare bedroom. All the while my 7 other kitties (yes 7, I managed to find and fix through the years) watched him tentatively through the windows. He was lonely and desperately wanted some furry companionship. I bought him the cat sitter video. He loved it but got bored. I knew he was going to need a friend. It was then that I knew I wanted to start a shelter for FELV positive kitties. As fate would have it, 2 weeks later I was laid off from work and I was able to get started officially on the project. Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary was formed and I'm currently in the process of trying to find a location to put these animals. I have an awesome Realtor who really seems to know about the required zoning. I'm confident we will have a place very soon. When I do, I will let you all know! I know a resource like this is desperately needed. Tom still lives in my spare bedroom, but his constant whining has earned him a roommate. I had one of my other less social kids vaccinated and she moved in with him. He still isn't completely happy and it's difficult for me to refuse him anything, which is why I would like some advice from all of you. I'm still pretty confused about the vaccine. If I give the others the vaccine, will they test positive for FELV without really having it like FIV? Is it at all dangerous (I have some older and diabetic cats)? If they are vaccinated for FELV are they carriers for the disease and dangerous to other cats? Are there any down sides to the vaccine? I guess I just want to make sure to cover all my bases before I take the step of letting him out of his bedroom. He really wants to come out and play with kitten I rescued! Thank you for any help and sorry about the long post! I feel like I know some of you and wanted to introduce myself! Marnie www.helpingpawsanimalsanctuary.com <http://www.helpingpawsanimalsanctuary.com/> _______________________________________________ Felvtalk mailing list Felvtalk@felineleukemia.org http://felineleukemia.org/mailman/listinfo/felvtalk_felineleukemia.org