We are so excited to share this story of success for our alumni, March. His new mom wrote this article to share her love of her new family member.
In April of last year I adopted a lovely feline boy named Casper. I knew he was FIV+ at the time of adoption and after doing research I knew I could handle a cat with a medical condition.
After a few months I thought about how he must feel lonely for feline companionship so I began the search for an FIV+ potential friend.
I was told a little of his back story; he was brought up from a shelter in Texas where he was due to be euthanized as the shelter was overrun with strays and because of his FIV status. Well I was done.
FIV+ or Feline Immunodeficiency virus is an infection that leads to a compromised immune system; meaning their body cannot fight off a common infection as easily as a healthy cat. Due to the stigma of outdated information, and stemming from lack of education; FIV+ cats are, often, over looked and take up space longer then a healthy cat, leading to being added to euthanasia lists in over run shelters.
The application process was supremely simple and I was sent a couple of photos at his current foster home. I knew right then that he had to be mine – no matter what.
Along with his FIV+ diagnosis, he had some chronic GI issues that were discussed during the application process (basically runny #2s). I could handle that. I work at an animal hospital so I knew he would get the best care. My adoption coordinator, Lori, discussed the foster-to-adopt situation (like a trial period) to make sure that the two boys could co-exist. I was down for that, but I knew that once the carrier was on my floor that he was home. I signed the adoption paperwork on August 30 and March (as he was known then) was officially home.
Teddy was consistently having runny BMs so I took him to work and the doctors gave him a full exam and numerous tests. Over the next few months we tried pro-biotics and medications while keeping him on the same GI friendly food he was on at the time of his adoption. We would be good in the box for a day or so, and then back to having the runs. My poor baby. He was otherwise perfect – just really bad poops. I talked to my boss again (the head vet) and she suggested a specific formula and brand of food. She said that other than water or catnip “Nothing in his mouth but this food for 8 weeks and we will see how he does”. I am happy to report that we are on month 4 of good quality #2s!! We have found the solution!!
Last night, as my arm was snuggling him, he rested his paw on my cheek – hugging his mum as he fell asleep.
It has taken a hot minute for Casper to realize that Teddy is, in fact, his adoptive brother and while they will hiss and fight as cats (and boys) do, more often than not I will catch them on the DL hanging together on the bed or laying beside each other. Teddy LOVES his brother and I think that, in his own protective way, Casper loves Teddy.
These boys are my pride and joy and I am grateful every day for the happiness they bring me.
What is your experience with having FIV+ cats?
I initially thought that having a cat that was FIV+ would be an incredible expense, that I would have to administer meds every day, injections and the like.
After research and discussions with vets and veterinary medical professionals I learned that the main thing that is needed for an FIV+ cat is that they need to be strictly indoors.
I am however, more aware of a sniffle or changes in mannerisms because their immune systems are functioning at a lower level.
I do take them out in a pet stroller so they can experience all the sounds, sights and smells of nature and still be safe and protected. But if pushing a cat in a stroller isn’t your jam, providing lots of enrichment toys, games, experiences etc makes my boys’ lives (hopefully) happy.
Please consider saving the life of an FIV+ cat. Many will overlook them as I almost did, and they need all the love we can give them.
-Author: Jillian, mother of Teddy (used to be March) and Casper
Charity Registration No. 89912 7526 RR0001
P.O. Box 152, 3353 Credit Woodlands, Unit 2
Mississauga, Ontario L5C 2K1
NOTE: Our address is AS A post office box only, with no staff or animals ON THE PREMISES.