[Felvtalk] please add Sylvia to the CLS

2012-05-22 Thread Anna Waltman
Dear all,
I lost my sweet Sylvia cat this afternoon. Despite our best efforts with
daily subcutaneous fluids, appetite stimulants, Interferon, probiotics,
vitamins, steroids, and multiple antibiotics, she was still fading fast and
appeared to be in a significant amount of pain yesterday. So, with a heavy
heart, I took her to the vet one last time this afternoon for a consult.
The vet looked over her chart thoroughly, took a close look at her gums and
listened to her breath, and said that at this point we'd done all we could
do; the anemia was causing her to crash. We agreed, sadly, that it was time
to let her go. This was definitely the hardest choice I've ever made; I'm
only 25 and Sylvia was my first cat as an adult. We bonded immediately and
it has been awful watching her decline over the last month. I'd never been
present when an animal has been euthanized before, and I was extremely
reluctant to see her go this way. I'd hoped she might pass quietly at home,
but she just seemed so uncomfortable that letting her linger struck me as
cruel and selfish. I think I made the right choice. She went peacefully,
wrapped in a clean blanket in my arms, with no pain. While we waited for
the vet, she sat in my lap and purred just like she did as a kitten at her
first vet visit. It broke my heart to let her go, even though I know it was
the kindest thing I could do.

Sylvia was the best cat I've ever had: smart, sweet, devoted, impeccably
well-mannered, pleasantly chatty, cuddly. Up until last month, she was fat,
sassy, and apart from gingivitis, quite healthy, so I am confident she had
a good life. I will miss her terribly. I already do. I'm glad I have my
lively little clownish siamese mix, Beatrice (who, as far as I know, is
FeLV negative and healthy as a horse) to keep me company. It'll just be the
two of us for a little while, so we have time to mourn the loss of a truly
great friend, old soul, and gentle spirit.

I am so, so sad...but also thankful for four years with a wonderful cat.
Some animals make you a better person. I think Sylvia has done that for me,
and I will always remember her.

Thanks to all of you who have given me advice and support over the last few
years. I'm grateful to have had a group of more experienced cat owners to
turn to with questions and concerns; you all have been a great source of
comfort and information. Best of luck to you and yours in fighting this
awful disease.
Anna (and Beatrice)

Anna Elisabeth Waltman
PhD Candidate // Contemporary American Poetics
Department of English and American Literature
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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[Felvtalk] update on Sylvia

2012-04-28 Thread Anna Waltman
Hi all,
Thanks to everyone who responded last week. Your advice means a lot to me,
as do your kind words of support. Most of my friends here are not pet
owners, so hearing from folks who have been through the same thing makes me
feel way less alone. So again, thank you.

At our last vet appointment, Sylvia's hematocrit was up to 31 from 28,
which may be a good sign re: the anemia. I've switched the cats to EVO
Herring and Salmon because that's the smelliest and seems to be Sylvia's
favorite (she prefers it to A/D soft food). Her fever, unfortunately, has
not responded to antibiotics. She's had a shot of Convenia, and I'm giving
her antibiotics at home, too; we started with zeniquin, but it didn't seem
to help, so the vet switched us onto doxycycline. She's eating enough on
her own that the vet doesn't think we need to worry about assisted feeding
or tube feeding, but she does have me giving subcutaneous fluids at home
daily as long as Sylvia's fever is over 103 (she's been steady at 104 for
over a week). We do have some new symptoms, too: her nose is extremely
runny/stuffy, she's sneezing a lot and sniffling, and her eyes look very
watery. The discharge is clear. Because she's not responding to
antibiotics, the vet started her on steroids (prednisolone) today. She
suspects that Sylvia has either an immune-mediated anemia or potentially
FLV-related cancer, and thinks the steroids might help. I am under strict
instructions to continue giving subcutaenous fluids and antibiotics along
with the prednisolone.

Sylvia seems to be feeling better than she was when I originally posted.
She's not hiding under the bed, but has been sleeping out in the open on
the couch and occasionally getting up to watch birds out the window on the
armchair or hang out on the floor for a bit. She purred a little last night
and seems quite happy to get attention/cuddles. She's still interested in
treats, too. I'm trying to encourage her to eat as much as I can, and the
vet says the steroids should help with that.

Anything I need to look out for with the steroids? Have any of you had
treatment go this route? I'm not at all clear on what the prognosis is for
Sylvia right now, though I'd assume that if we're dealing with cancer that
the steroids aren't a permanent fix. Any information you have that can help
me figure out what to expect would be immensely helpful.
Many thanks, and lots of luck to all of you and yours.
Anna, Sylvia, and Beatrice

Anna E. Waltman
PhD student  Teaching Associate
Department of English and American Literature
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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[Felvtalk] thanks for your help!

2012-04-23 Thread Anna Waltman
Hi Jenny,
Thanks for your helpful emails-- this listserv is a lifesaver. I really
hope you're right that this is an infection and treatable; Sylvia is such a
wonderful cat. I'll keep an eye out for anything from Laura, as well, and
bring up your treatment regimen when I see the vet again on Wednesday.
Sylvia seems stable at the moment. She's out from under the bed, at least,
and has curled up on the couch instead. She's still eating, and she hasn't
been trying to get away from me when I pick her up to hold her (she wasn't
interested in any kind of cuddles at all on Friday). Yesterday her fever
had come down from 105 to 103 (I'm checking every 24hrs). She's had an
injection of Convenia and the vet has me giving her broad-spectrum oral
antibiotics (Zeniquin) daily as well. We go back to the vet on Wed. for
more bloodwork and to see if she's improving at all. Fingers crossed!
Thanks again!
Anna, Sylvia, and Beatrice

Anna E. Waltman
PhD student  Teaching Associate
Department of English and American Literature
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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[Felvtalk] sick FLV+ kitty, worried owner

2012-04-21 Thread Anna Waltman
Dear all,
I've been a member of this list since 2009, when Sylvia, the older of my
two (strictly indoor-only) cats, was first diagnosed with FLV (she'd tested
negative twice as a kitten, then at just over a year old came up positive
on both the snap and IFA tests). We have a great vet, and she's been a
happy, healthy, fat, and sassy calico cat for most of her life. I haven't
been very active on this list in the last year or so because Sylvia has
been so healthy, apart from a case of gingivitis that our vet and I were
monitoring carefully. She's about four years old now, and was originally a
stray kitten in an urban area. I adopted her from an ASPCA in New Jersey.
The vet thinks she got the virus from her mama and it was dormant in her
system until the stress of moving from NJ to MA caused it to turn active.

Unfortunately, her run of good health seems to be over. Toward the end of
March, she started having diarrhea and seemed lethargic, so I took her to
the vet, who said she didn't have a fever, but gave her a shot of systemic
antibiotics and some subcutaneous fluids anyway. Her energy levels rose and
the diarrhea resolved itself. However, Sylvia's energy levels took a
nosedive again this past week, and she's been totally lethargic. She
started hiding in my roommate's closet and spent an entire night in there
on Wednesday. She's been refusing to play with my other cat, Beatrice, and
hissed last time Beatrice tried to convince her to play chase (not normal
at all-- these two have always been good buddies and playmates).

Yesterday, we went back to the vet. This time, she did have a high fever
(105) and the vet did blood work, which showed anemia and a high white
blood cell count. The vet said all signs point to infection and suggested
antibiotics and fluids, but she also wanted to do x-rays to check for
tumors...then she also said that even if a tumor showed itself, there would
be no treatment options and we'd have to discuss euthanasia. I opted
against the x-rays as I'm on a limited budget and couldn't really see the
point if the tests wouldn't lead to treatment. We decided to do another
round of the injected systemic antibiotics and sub-Q fluids, and the vet
also gave me an oral antibiotic to dose Sylvia with once a day. I'm going
to purchase a thermometer so I can monitor her temperature daily, as well.
I'm under strict instructions to bring her back in if her temp rises or
stays where it is. We go back on Wednesday for another round of blood work,
to see if the anemia and white blood cell count are improving or getting

I'm a mess. I'm so worried; I broke down crying in the vet's office
yesterday before the vet even came in to see Sylvia. And poor Sylvia has
been hiding under my bed since we got home yesterday. She's not interested
in cuddles or attention (which is not even a little normal for her-- most
of the time, she'd spend her whole evening curled up on my lap if given the
chance). She'll come out to eat (she's still interested in treats) and get
a drink of water, and then she goes right back under the bed to sleep. I
realize that this is instinct...when animals are very sick they have to
hide to protect themselves from predators...but she's never been so adamant
about being out of sight before this week.

Have any of you dealt with this in a FLV+ cat before? Any advice for how to
cope? Is there some other remedy I should be giving her (Lysine, pet-tinic,
etc) in addition to the antibiotics while she's sick to bolster her immune
system? She eats high-quality food to begin with (Wellness CORE and
occasionally Wellness wet food). Also...how do I know when her quality of
life has deteriorated to the point that euthanasia is something to
consider? She's not herself now, that's for sure, but she doesn't seem to
be in pain, either. When she's been in pain in the past because of her
mouth/gums, she's been quite vocal about it. I just don't want her to
suffer needlessly.

This has been breaking my heart. Sylvia is my first cat as an adult (I'm 25
and in grad school); she's outlived two serious relationships, the whole of
my Master's degree work, and a major move. I'm more attached to her than
I've ever been to an animal. When she was diagnosed with FLV I was
devastated and wracked with guilt, since I'd recently adopted a kitten into
our household thinking Sylvia was totally healthy. (Luckily, the kitten,
Beatrice, has remained negative-- she gets retested and vaccinated
annually-- and has grown into an active and healthy indoor cat.)

Those of you with more experience owning FLV+ cats: any help or advice you
can offer would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance!
All the best,
Anna, Sylvia, and Beatrice

Anna E. Waltman
PhD student  Teaching Associate
Department of English and American Literature
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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[Felvtalk] Re: Bridget is dead

2010-03-18 Thread Anna Waltman
I'm so sorry to hear about Bridget's passing and will be keeping both of you
in my thoughts tonight. It's heartbreaking but at least she passed
peacefully and quietly; I'm sure she's watching over you, thankful for all
the love and friendship you gave her during her time in your care.

I'm absolutely positive that this is NOT your fault. You did the right thing
in having Bridget spayed and trusting your vet. Even if his views differ
from ours on euthanasia of FLV+ cats, it's his duty to do right by you and
abide by your wishes for your companion, who cannot speak for herself but
relies on you (not him) to speak for her. I sincerely doubt any vet would go
against the owner's wishes, as well as professional ethics, and put a cat to
death surreptitiously (except perhaps in the case of PETA).

You did the right thing.

In solidarity,
Anna, Sylvia and Beatrice
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Re: [Felvtalk] I Hate PETA

2009-12-04 Thread Anna Waltman
I am so, so sorry to hear this happened to your kitties; it's incredibly
angering that PETA not only undermined your plans to give them a happy,
healthy existence, but also absconded with your money. Like others on this
list, I'm pretty sure they tested before performing the surgery, and so
had no right to keep your payment-- especially after killing two cats that
had a safe haven waiting for them! What disgusting, abjectly unethical
behavior on their part! They'll never get another dime (nor any kind words)
from me following this...

Gentle bridge vibes to your two babies...
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Re: [Felvtalk] Scratchy meow

2009-11-25 Thread Anna Waltman
Hi Tracy,
My vocal 1 1/2 year old positive female, Sylvia, sometimes changes her voice
when she's not feeling well. It drops into a lower register and gets
scratchy, like she has laryngitis. She's spayed. Most of the time she's got
a fairly melodic, medium-pitched meow-- that scratchy voice is what
originally led me to take her to the vet, who tested her for FLV (her third
time being tested)...and she came up positive.

Since then, she's only had that voice change one time, and it was when she
caught a cold from my other (so far negative) kitten, Beatrice. She
recovered quickly and the meow went back to normal.

Cats have a million different ways of communicating with us; this is just
one way Sylvia tells me she's feeling unwell. She also follows me around
more often, begging for attention, and gets irritable with Beatrice (hisses,
etc). So pay attention to your girl-- if she's still scratchy as she comes
out of heat, pay close attention to her and take her to the vet if something
doesn't seem right. Follow your instincts and pay close attention to hers.

You'll get wonderful advice on this forum. They're a wealth of information
and have been incredibly helpful to me.

All my best to you and your kittycat!


Message: 5
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2009 16:36:55 -0500
From: Tracy McLendon tracymclen...@gmail.com
Subject: [Felvtalk] scratchy meow
To: felvtalk@felineleukemia.org

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hello!  I am new here!  I have a 1 1/2 year old blind FLV cat.  Two
days ago, she started to have an odd scratchy sounding meow.  She also
went into heat about the same time.  She is eating and playing
normally.  Her meow just suddenly changed and sounds raspy, almost
like a parrot.

This is my first experience with a FLV cat.  She is not on any type of
vitamins, she is just like all the other cats, until she started with
this weird meow.  When she went in originally for her eye enucleation,
the vet just said she would be more susceptible to infections and that
she would not live long.

Can someone help me?  Any other signs I should look for?  She seems
normal otherwise but I am such a hyphochondriac for myself and my
animals!  I just want to know if anyone else has experienced meow

Thanks in advance!


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[Felvtalk] LCTI, etc.

2009-11-15 Thread Anna Waltman
Dear all,
My positive kitty, Sylvia, has been largely asymptomatic for a month or two
now, and has only had one bout of immune suppression since testing positive
(a sore in her mouth, which was taken care of with antibiotics and went away
quickly). She is positive on both the snap and IFA tests. My five-month-old
kitten, Beatrice, was negative as of a month or so prior to being

I'm feeding both kitties a mix of Wellness Indoor Health, Wellness Kitten
Health and Evo; Sylvia has actually put on weight (1/2 a pound) and looks
good. Bea is growing like a weed and very energetic, but has intermittent
issues with diarrhea and flatulence. The vet thinks it might be that the
high-quality food is too much for her system, but I'm wondering if we might
need to re-test her for giardia (which she had when she came to me) and do
another snap test for FLV. The vet wants to wait at least six months from
the first FLV snap test before we test her again. What are your thoughts on
this? I want to test her early and put her on LCTI if she's positive; if
there's a chance that she's positive but can beat the virus with some
medical help, I'd like to give her that chance. And if she's still dealing
with giardia (after several rounds of antibiotics she shouldn't be), I'd
like to get that totally cleared up. Luckily, Sylvia doesn't seem to have
contracted it. Diarrhea has only been an issue for her when she's been on
oral antibiotics.

Also: Sylvia periodically throws up immediately after eating. It's something
she's done since young kittenhood and it happens every other week or so,
sometimes slightly more often, sometimes way less (she occasionally goes a
month or two without it happening). Is this vomiting something I need to be
concerned about? It's only right after she's eaten and doesn't seem to
affect her appetite, bowel movements or behavior.

These two are my first pets as an adult (I'm only 23 and a first-year
graduate student); I'm doing my best to do right by them. It's a wonderful
thing to have this forum to turn to when I'm feeling confused about
something. The girls and I both thank you heartily in advance for your
All best,
Anna, Sylvia and Beatrice
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Re: [Felvtalk] Mystique? Please add to the CLS? :(

2009-10-28 Thread Anna Waltman
Dear Pat,
I'm so sorry to hear of Mandy's passing. Your cats are blessed to be cared
for so wonderfully and loved so deeply. I'm sure Mandy had a peaceful and
comfortable journey to the Bridge and is looking down on you, purring,
grateful for all you gave her in the time you had together.
In sympathy,
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Re: [Felvtalk] New Here with Questions

2009-10-13 Thread Anna Waltman
Hi Ellie,
My year-old kitty, Sylvia, tested negative and was healthy as a kitten, but
the stress of a move seems to have turned her a strong, symptomatic positive
(my vet says that some cats are latent carriers and suddenly become
positive/symptomatic after a stressful situation). If a move can have that
devastating an effect on an otherwise healthy latent carrier, it could do
serious damage to a cat who already tests positive. We've been able to get
her symptoms under control with antibiotics and a few vet visits, but she
really wasn't feeling well for a while after we moved.

Everyone I have spoken to, including my vet, has emphasized how unhealthy
stress can be for a cat (especially one with FLV) and how important it is
that the health of an FLV+ cat be monitored carefully. Being alone for many
hours a day can be seriously stressful for any animal, cats especially;
additionally, if your sister spends no time with the cat, how will she know
if Brie is acting lethargic or somehow off? Cats are stoic animals, so
often the signs of illness are subtle and easy to miss until the problem
becomes serious.

With the right care, FLV+ cats can live long and healthy lives. If, in your
heart, you think you're more capable of caring for Brie than your sister (it
sounds that way from your email), please do the kitty a huge favor and take
her in. Your conscience, your karma and Brie will all thank you (Brie will
likely reward you tenfold with love).
All best to you and yours,


 Message: 1
 Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 02:34:45 -0400
 From: Ellie Foster elliefost...@gmail.com
 Subject: [Felvtalk] New Here w/Questions
 To: felvtalk@felineleukemia.org
 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1


 Im new here, my name is Ellie.

 I joined because my niece kitty, Brie, is one year old and was diagnosed
 with FeLV about a month ago with a faint positive result (she is supposed
 be retested in 2 months).

 My question is - my sibling is planning a move across quite a few states
 (USA), about 12-14 hours travelling by car, to New York City. Her job will
 keep her very occupied, literally up to 20 hours a day!! (I couldnt do it

 No one knew Brie was + until last month because my sister never took her to
 the vets after finding her outside, alone, at about 4 weeks old. So, I
 finally convinced my sis to let me take Brie in to be spayed, vaccinated,
 tested - and, that is when we got the diagnosis.

 Just wondering, vet said that stress on kitty is *bad* - is this type of
 fairly long-distance move something that qualifies as stressful? (will ask
 the vet of course too!)

 Has anyone used lysine supplements in an FeLV kitty?

 Will my sister encounter any problems in trying to rent an apartment with
 FeLV+ cat?

 I ask because I can easily give Brie a home; I have no other kitties
 (anymore - both of my elderly (16 19) baby boy cats passed on early this
 year, one of CRF, the other of a sudden massive stroke, within 2 months of
 each other). And if I can help Brie live a longer, happy life, I would be
 incredibly glad to do so.

 Brie knows my house, my family, has stayed with us up to 3 weeks in the
 when my sister has been out of town on business.

 And I love the little baby Brie anyway! Just want her to live the best life
 possible, and am debating offering - again - to let kitty live with me.

 Thank you so much for your help  info!


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[Felvtalk] Thanks for the thoughts!

2009-10-09 Thread Anna Waltman
Dear all,
Thanks for the kind thoughts and advice regarding Sylvia's recent positive
diagnosis.  She and I both really appreciate and feel encouraged by your

Beatrice goes for her vaccine today; I am going to ask the vet tech to test
her before giving her the vaccine.  She's about four months old, was
negative when I adopted her at ten weeks, and from what I gather, if she's
positive and we put her on Interferon, she may have a better chance of
fighting it off before it gets into her bone marrow.  Thoughts? And how
expensive is Interferon? I'm a graduate student and have a small reserve of
funds from a loan excess check, but I'm certainly not rolling in cash.

These two are such wonderful kitties, and excellent friends to me and each
other.  I want them both to have the longest, happiest lives possible.  I'm
so, so glad we have good people to turn to for advice on how to live with
this disease!
In solidarity,
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[Felvtalk] New to FLV and have a cat that just tested positive...

2009-10-05 Thread Anna Waltman
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

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

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.
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