Here’s the bottom line…
At Shadow Cats, an amazing rescue in Texas, at least 14 cats who used to be FeLV positive have beaten the virus and now test negative!
If you’re like me, the mere suggestion that your cat needs to be tested for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) makes you very anxious, and in a multi-cat household it sends your mind into high gear trying to figure out how you will manage it, even before they do the blood draw.
You’re thinking about having to get everyone tested right away. How to safely separate the infected from non-infected, and how they are going to handle it if best friends have to be kept apart.
I’ve been through it more than once. Many, many years ago I lost kittens to FeLV. We suspected that they got it from the neighbors cat that they nursed from when we brought them home from the shelter, but then again they came from a shelter and not a good one.
Then, a few years back when Rowdy was in liver failure the first time, they tested her. She was only three years old, had not been exposed to any toxins, and our other cats were fine. We never have figured out why she developed hepatic lipidosis then, why another one of the cats in the household developed it as soon as she got better, or why she developed it again a few years later. What we did learn was that she did not have FeLV. But waiting for the test was a terrifying time.
Before Gorgeous had his nosectomy his vet decided to test him just in case. It was the smart thing to do. I expected it to come back negative, but I had also expected his biopsy to come back negative for cancer, so my confidence was down. He was negative too. So we dodged the bullet twice.
FeLV is very bad, and for many cats it is fatal. The standard recommendation used to be euthanasia, even in otherwise healthy cats. We know now that some cats who have it do live long, healthy lives. But they can transmit it to other cats, so they have to live separately from other cats.
Some people handle this by having an FeLV only home. These are wonderful people who, after learning that their cat is positive for the virus, adopt other cats who have it from shelters or homes that cannot realistically keep their household cats separated, even though they know that it can mean dealing with a host of health issues and early death.
And then there is Shadow Cats! Part of what they do is give FeLV positive cats a wonderful forever home. These cats have their own area called Cookie’s Place where they get lots of love and all the medical care they need.
Something amazing has happened there! A whole bunch of their FeLV positive cats are now testing negative! You can read the whole story here.