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Thread: FELV +ive kitten and her survivor

  1. #1

    FELV +ive kitten and her survivor


    I've read this forum without registering for a few weeks now so first of all thanks for all the helpful posts that have been made before now, there are some really knowledgable people on here and I'm sure your posts have helped lots of people

    3 months ago we got 2 10 week old rescue kittens, Dixie and Tinkerbell. They had been starved to within an inch of their life by their mothers' owner but had been rescued by a local rescue centre. Dixie was the most loving cat you'd ever meet, and Tinkerbell the most playful, if a little shy of human contact at first - she's grown to accept us most of the time now though!

    About a month ago Dixie got a runny nose, so we used the power of Google to find out how to treat her and managed to control her symptoms really well for a week before we took her to the vets who put her on antibiotics and sent us home. She'd fallen behind Tinkerbell in her development and growth, but was still gaining some weight, and when the antibiotics seemed to work for her, we were relieved. She even had a little growth spurt and started to finish off full bowls of food.

    Last week she had a relapse, so we called the vet who said to do all the things we had done before and give it time, but yesterday she showed real signs of becoming very unwell. She was listless and lethargic as well as having a blocked nose that just wouldn't shift (wet cotton bud wiping, hot shower room, the usual stuff) so I took her in again. This time the vet was more concerned than before. She didn't have a temperature this time, which he said worried him, and she looked like she was giving up. He suggested we test for FELV and FIV as well as doing a general biochemistry set of bloods so we could find out why she was like this.

    A few hours later I got the call that I was dreading. Dixie had FELV and was so weak that treatment would be unlikely to have any positive impact, and would be beyond our local vets so a hospital admission would be necessary.

    We had a little cuddle and I held her paw as she went to sleep peacefully. Me and my girlfriend are still both devastated but we know that in her short life with us we had given her all the love in the world.

    Her sister is still with us, and has always thrived - she is double the size that Dixie was and is playful and mischievous but since we left Dixie at the vets, she has showed signs of pining. She never meows (we thought she physically couldn't for a while!) but today she has paced our corridor crying and after sniffing the pillow that Dixie slept on at night spent five minutes looking under our bed covers to see if she was there. They were close, and Tinkerbell used to groom Dixie each night. They shared cuddles as well as a litter tray but ate out of separate bowls and knew which area they were fed in.

    The vet said that we should get Tinkerbell tested for FELV as soon as we are ready, but I'm worried that if she has it then we will lose her too. Would a cat with FELV look healthy? Would a healthy looking cat with FELV need to be put to sleep? They were both indoor cats and we have no intention of changing that for Tinkerbell, so she wouldn't be a risk to other animals if she tested positive.

    As far as I can tell, they never inflicted any penetrating bites or scratches on each other. We were always stroking them both and would have noticed anything major - and we have laminate flooring so I'm assuming blood would have dripped if they had done?

    Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to give as much detail as possible so you guys could be of help

    This was Dixie when she was well

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Thanks Dixie was a cutie, and I am sure is purring up at the Rainbow Bridge. FELV is transmitted in saliva and can be passed from nose-to-nose contact. But some cats can have FELV and look healthy and act healthy, and in some cases, their immune system is able to defeat it, so it is not necessarily an imminent death sentence for Tinkerbell if she has it. It is likely the starvation they both went through before rescue contributed to Dixie's decline, but with plenty of love and care she can live a long time as a healthy-looking and acting cat. So love her and spoil her! Of course you likely already are!
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Vicenza, Italy
    I was in a similar situation. We had 2 cats one rescues 5 weeks after we adopted one. We don't know which of the kittens was infected but both were FeLv +. We lost Lilith at just about 18 months old. This was the first we found out that she was FeLv +. She was healthy as we knew and always appeared that way even to the vet. She had been vaccinated just a few days before and was fine at that time and with a day she was under the weather. The vet believed it to be a reaction to the shot. She didn't get better. Basically within less than a week she went from perfectly normal (or so we thought) to gone. The vaccination had dropped her immune system enough for the disease to take over. We were terrified to have Vixen (the younger one by just 2 months) tested. We waited about a year before we did. We couldn't face the idea of her being positive too and losing her quickly and young the same way. Not that knowing or not knowing would make any difference. We had her tested finally and we were devastated when the test came back positive but we really kinda knew anyway from all the research we had done and talking to a very good vet of our from years before to get as much info as possible. Vixen was never...ever sick. She was on a high quality food. Absolutely no supermarket food. Her wet food was 100% natural and she ate a high quality kibble as well. We lost Vixen at just over 6 years old. She didn't die from the FeLv. Her immune system was strong and the FeLv never reared it's ugly head. She was no longer vaccinated though as she was 100% indoors and because vaccines can drop the immune system for the first 24-48 hours after receiving it and that was a BIG risk for her and could not be afforded. Vixen actually passed from a blood clot that went directly to her heart. It was something we didn't know but can happen with the breed of cat that she was part of (she was part maine coon and blood clots are a factor for the large cats like maine coon, siberian, norweigan forest cats). So, basically, as long as she is fed high quality food and you avoid vaccines if at all possible and stay vigilant with her health (if you think there is something wrong get her checked immediately) then you could have a good few years with her. Also, do what you can to help her avoid stress. Cats dislike change so avoid it if you can. If she is not a laid back kitty don't bring another cat (please none that are FeLv -, if you get another cat for her another rescued FeLv + cat would be best) or dog into the home. This doesn't have to be an immediate death sentence. She can live a good many years happy, healthy and perfectly normally. If you have any questions you can PM me or email me at kittycatsdelight @ gmail . com (remove the spaces is all).

    I'm sorry for the loss of little Dixie. I am sure she is running and playing happily at the rainbow bridge now wait for the day she will be reunited with you. And I hope all goes well with Tinkerbelle. ((((HUGS)))) to you all and some cuddles for Tinkerbelle.


    My rainbow bridge babies have forever left their paw prints on my heart.
    Lilith & Vixen, taken too soon. I love you always.

    Signatures, avatars & blinkies if anyone wants one pm me with color,
    font and background preference and with pics and names of pets.

    Lilith's Catster Page Vixen's Catster Page

    Vote for my furry ones on the cat & dog channels
    Vixen, Bella, Vega, Frost, Phoenix & Artica

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Westchester Cty, NY
    I have quite a bit of experience with FeLV+ cats in my rescue. I had three foster kittens who were positive; they are 5 years old and thriving. Someone else has a 5 year old, too. There is more and more evidence that if they survive their first year or two they can live a normal life expectancy. However, they can never be with negative cats.
    I've been finally defrosted by cassiesmom!
    "Not my circus, not my monkeys!"-Polish proverb


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