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Readers Respond: Living with a FIV or FELV positive cat

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From the article: FIV in Cats

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FELV) are viruses that weaken a cat's immune system. While they can cause a multitude of health problems because of reduced immune system function, many cats can live a relatively normal life. Care must be taken to prevent bite wounds and keep your cat as healthy as possible.

Your cat's story
Has your feline friend been diagnosed with FIV or FELV? Please tell us about your cat, his or her history, what precautions do you take, and what living with a FIV or FELV positive cat is like.

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Recently trapped fiv cat at feral colony

A stray cat showed up at a feral colony I manage. Trapped him and got him neutered. He was not feral. Just a stray looking for food. Found our he is FIV positive. He had an upper respiratory infection. Had that treated and got all his shots up to date. I am fostering him and hoping to find him a good permanent home. He is a wonderful cat and I will keep him always until he finds his forever home. I would never euthanize a cat for being fiv.
—Guest Lana Rollins

My FIV Cat is so sweet and affectionate!

My friend gave me an FIV cat 6 years ago. At the time, the Vet said he was 5 or 6 years old. Now in 2013, my cat is approximately 10-11 years old. He has had maybe 2 Urine infections, but otherwise is healthy, as far as I can tell. He is a bit on the heavy side and is super affectionate to any one that visits me. He almost immediately jumps on any guests lap that visits me! He sleeps with me at night. And will lay on my tummy if I am laying in the couch. He loves to cuddle! All the time. He never met a stranger, he is not afraid of people or strangers. He loves attention. He sleeps by my head at night and always ready to cuddle. He comes to me if I call him to sit with me on the couch, and he is on the floor. He eats well and loves cold-refrigerated water. Doesn't like canned soft food or cat treats. Just dry food. He is so friendly & affectionate, I think he used to be a person in a past life!!!! I don't even believe in past lifes, but my cat is pretty convincing!! Sweetest cat ever.
—Guest Tootles

Gios mom

If your vet suggests euthanasia due to FIV, get a new vet. My Giorgio is 5, diagnosed at 1. Our vet taught me to give IV for fluids. Had to remove his teeth. A steroid shot every six weeks. He is doing GREAT! His life is due to a wonderful cat loving vet. My other 3 cats are also fine. Jealous when he gets special food, but otherwise we are good. 5 years and hopefully many more. FIV is NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.
—Guest Diane

my FIV/FELV MR. Daisy

I've had Mr. Daisy for 11 months. He was a gift from my boss. He was just the most adorable cat I've ever laid my eyes on and I am not a cat person but I knew my mind changed when I got him. I've always kept him inside has a kitten due to the fact I've always been worried he would have gotten lost stolen killed etc. But has he got older I decided to let him out he was such a outdoor cat he would lay under our tree and chase birds such a energetic cat. Until he started feeling sick and not Eating or drinking nor nothing so I Took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with FeLV and FIV with a fever of 106. I was so devastated. The doctor wanted to euthanize him. But I clearly said no. He's only 11 month barley even 1 yr old. The doctors only give him 3 yrs but my sweet baby is active has ever he still does a lot of the things he use to do but not has much. But ill make sure I give him the best 3 years he deserves or more(: I love you my little furball.
—Guest Jackie

Keep the faith

I had a ginger tabby male kitty, Thomas. I got him from a shelter when he was about 6 months old. When he was about 3 years old, he was diagnosed FIV pos. Vet said he would probably not live to 5 years old. He was very sick and I was feeding him protein and water with syringe. Was going to take him to be put down one Sat morn, but he came up to my bed meowing wanting food. I fed him real cat food for the first time in weeks and he never stopped eating until he died at 15 years old. I still miss him. Best cat I ever had.
—Guest DJ

worried but hopeful

My sweet Furious recently became extremely sick so we went to the Vet and tested positive for FIV. The Vet gave me the options and I have struggled all weekend. I am not ready to give up on him! Thanks to these positive posts I now have a little more hope. Calling Vet with questions about better meds and food recomendations in the morning. Fingers crossed and praying for my baby.
—Guest a Martin

worried but hopeful

My sweet Furious recently became extremely sick so we went to the Vet and tested positive for FIV. The Vet gave me the options and I have struggled all weekend. I am not ready to give up on him! Thanks to these positive posts I now have a little more hope. Calling Vet with questions about better meds and food recomendations in the morning. Fingers crossed and praying for my baby.
—Guest a Martin

FeLV+

My kitten Little Dude was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia March 8th. He has been battling a horrid URI for the last 3 weeks and every medication he has been on has only made it come back twice as bad... He is 4 months old and only looks like he is 2 months old. I have given up hope with the vets he has seen, but not with him. I want him to keep fighting for life but i dont want him to suffer. I dont know what else to do. He is on a 4 hour feeding schedule and tons of medication. He is getting xrays tonight, but the vet said he can die any moment... I love him so much. I did realize having a sick cat is very stressful. The bond is a million times stronger with him than it is with my other two cats and even my dog...
—Guest Amber

happy to read your stories

I am so happy that I did some research and found this site..everyone's life stories have touched me and help me to make the hardest decision about my cat Siena..I always say that he adopted us..he was a stray and he has been i our lives for 6 yrs now and he is the most loving kitty that we have ever had. About a month ago he went missing..we searched every shelter,neighbors garages, sheds, just in case he got lsomewhere..never found him..we were coming to conclusion that he wouldn't be back..Then Sunday morning my husband her s cry at the front door..it was siena, he was so skinny and bonie and crying..we took him to the vet right away because he was severely dehydrate and he tested positive for fiv..he suggests that we euthanize him..I said ur kidding..then he got his blood work back and his kidneys and liver and everything else came back great..I opted for a second opinion..he still at vet on iv and I'm waiting for another vet to het back to me regarding his situat
—Guest Lisa

happy to read your stories

I am so happy that I did some research and found this site..everyone's life stories have touched me and help me to make the hardest decision about my cat Siena..I always say that he adopted us..he was a stray and he has been i our lives for 6 yrs now and he is the most loving kitty that we have ever had. About a month ago he went missing..we searched every shelter,neighbors garages, sheds, just in case he got lsomewhere..never found him..we were coming to conclusion that he wouldn't be back..Then Sunday morning my husband her s cry at the front door..it was siena, he was so skinny and bonie and crying..we took him to the vet right away because he was severely dehydrate and he tested positive for fiv..he suggests that we euthanize him..I said ur kidding..then he got his blood work back and his kidneys and liver and everything else came back great..I opted for a second opinion..he still at vet on iv and I'm waiting for another vet to get back to me regarding his situation.
—Guest Lisa

Vickie

I have been feeding a beautiful fluffy ginger cat - thought he must be a neighbor's outside cat. The other day a man down the street said he was going to kill the cat if someone didn't claim him. I captured him and took him to the vet today. He is a neutered male cat and has FIV. I already have four indoor cats. The vet is going to do a little research and see about getting my four cats tested for FIV and then vaccinated against it.
—Guest Vickie

Not a death sentence

I rescued my baby midnight abt. 3 yrs ago...about 6 months ago he was diagnosed with FIV..I was so devastated. I kept him inside for a few months and he cried incessantly, so now he only goes outside in our courtyard in the daytime to sleep under the trees. I think the vitamins from the sun and the exercise is far better on the immune system than stressing a cat by locking it in. Some cats adjust to the change very well, but my boy is a hunter and no toys satisfied him. He has a very large appetite still, is 16 lbs, and all black w a white tuxedo spot. It will be hard to see him decline when he does, but reading these stories gives me hope he will have a long life ahead. I love you baby midnight!
—Guest Brodey

Chris P - FIV/Buddy

.....back again and do it all over. Even though Freddie tore me up about 3 times, I still went back for more. I just wanted him to feel welcome into our home and to show him as much love as I could, since he was abandoned. I miss his little soul and personality that brought me much joy to my life. My boyfriend and I were thinking of spreading his ashes either in NH or ME over a mountain top since "Freddie" loved the outdoors so much. If Buddy is not in as bad a shape as Freddie was, then I suggest do whatever it takes to keep him around as long as possible.
—Guest Heidi (CT)

Chris P - Buddy/FIV

.....getting FIV also. She thought since he was positive and had problems with the teeth, his kidneys were enlarged and my other cat was negative, that euthanizing him would be the right decision. She said that if his kidneys weren't failing, she would've suggested otherwise. So that's what me and my boyfriend decided to do. I still don't know if that was the right decision. I miss him dearly. I welcomed him into my home because I couldn't bear the thought of knowing he was outside in the coming winter ahead, and that he isn't being properly fed. My boyfriend and I showed him lots of love and affection and welcomed him lovingly. He was very tempermental though. You couldn't pet him too long, hold him too long or snuggle with him. He did have a tendency to follow you around sometimes. He ate alot. My boyfriend use to go on walks with him. He said it was like Freddie was showing him his world outside. Freddie would run ahead, look back, go running back and swirl around his legs and go...
—Guest Heidi (CT)

To Chris P - FIV/Buddy

Chris, I too just took in a stray last fall. I never knew FIV existed in cats. I never heard of it until the day before Valentine's when I took the stray, "Fathead Fred" (his head was bigger than his body frame - he was very thin) aka "Freddie", to the vet and found out he was FIV. The doctor told me he also had holes in his teeth/gums and would need them extracted. She also said his kidneys were enlarged and consider euthanizing him. I too have another cat in the house and the doctor suggested I bring him in immediately to have him tested. I did and he (Sunshine) ended up -FIV. She suggested if I were to take "Freddie" home that I would have to make sure the two didn't fight. Sunshine is mostly an indoor cat. If he goes outside, he usually sticks around the door area. "Freddie" on the other hand was and outdoor cat, he loved the outdoors, and even did his business outdoors. He wouldn't use a litter pan. The vet said I wouldn't be able to let him outside, to prevent other cats from...
—Guest Heidi (CT)

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Living with a FIV or FELV positive cat

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