Friday, December 8, 2023
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Cats for Adoption: FIV is No Barrier

black and white cat
Knight sleeps with his head on his rescuer’s arm, purring.

What do most people say they look for in a cat they want to adopt? A cat who is affectionate, both wanting and accepting affection and giving it, a cat who is a lap cat, who purrs and wants to spend time with you. And a cat who gets along with your other cats/dogs/pets/people, who sleeps next to you from the first night. That cat is Knight and he’s ready for adoption now!

For someone who wants a big fluffy friendly black and white cat, though, he has a bit of a handicap. He tested FIV-positive, even though that really shouldn’t be a barrier to adoption.

A shelter or rescue is in a predicament when a cat surrendered to them is positive for FIV, or “feline immunodeficiency virus”. FIV is similar to HIV in people but infected cats can live a long and healthy life with the virus without any need for treatment. They can also live with other cats without infecting them—because FIV is most easily transmitted via saliva through bites, spaying and neutering and keeping the cat indoors so that it doesn’t fight with other cats has been found to be the most effective way to stop transmission. It’s not contagious to dogs or people in any way. Read An Impassioned Defense for the Adoption of FIV+ Cats for more detailed information.

But initially, at least, the cat should be segregated until they know its personality better, and ideally the cat would be retested in about six weeks; often the cat is exposed prior to entering the shelter and at that time carries the antibodies to the virus, but does not actually develop it. Six weeks is enough time for the cat to clear the virus and will test negative, and will carry an immunity for the rest of its life.

Knight, ready for love.
Knight, ready for love.

Many shelters don’t have the luxury of a segregation area for holding cats who test positive for FIV, especially when kittens start entering the shelter by the litter and cage space for the most adoptable animals is at a premium. Even during slower times of the year, FIV+ cats are often pulled to be euthanized simply because they are so difficult to adopt out.

One thing that will save these cats is a foster home where the cat can live until a possible negative FIV+ test or an adoptive home is found.

Which is how Knight came to be with his rescuer, one who has trapped or pulled from shelters at least 100 cats since the beginning of 2013 alone.

Knight is positive for FIV, but he is a lover. “This cats purr rattles his cage!” said his rescuer, who is keeping him in his home with his other cats and dog. “He’s a big baby!” He’s looking for a home for Knight, who is an adult, neutered, has had all his shots and is in good health. Did we say he was a real lover? If you want a cat who loves to be held, loves to be cuddled, loves to play, loves people, other cats, dogs and loves life in general, please contact Donnie at [email protected].

Ready for Adoption, Ready for New Foster Kittens

tabby cat on blanket
Fred says, “Look, I coordinate with every color.”
black and white cat
Barney says, “Don’t you want to wake up and look at my spotted face every day?”

Fred and Barney are spokescats for successful fostering—and you can take them seriously when they say they need to find another home before this frightened mama and her babies can come inside.

Fred and Barney were picked up by animal control and were about to be euthanized for their “feral behavior”—they were hostile and could not be handled, so unless someone would take them to socialize them, they were simply unadoptable and the shelter had to spend its limited resources on cats who were immediately adoptable.

Click here to read a message from Fred and Barney!

Mama Kitty is Ready For a Home of Her Own

long-haired torbie cat
“Mama Kitty”, a very pretty long-haired torbie with white paws, is looking for a home.

If a kitty ever needed a kind and understanding home, it’s Mama Kitty. This kitty lived outside for most of her life, giving birth to, at best guess, four litters of kittens on someone’s porch. She is also mama to Angel Donna and her brothers who you’ve already met.

Mama Kitty was rescued by someone who regularly goes into some pretty grim circumstances to pick up cats in need, and on a freezing night he went to pick up Mama Kitty and her tiny kittens with the agreement to foster and rehome the kittens and have Mama Kitty spayed and vetted, and return her when the time was right for her and her kittens. But that person isn’t interested in taking her back.

She’s not the most affectionate cat at the moment, but she’s come a long, long way from the mama who wouldn’t nurse her kittens when a human was in the room, and she stands a chance of going even farther to being a sweet, quiet companion cat. She is spayed and has all her vaccinations and is FIV/FeLV negative, and just needs a quiet place to learn to trust humans.

All photos courtesy the kittens’ foster homes.

And read about other kittens and adult cats who are looking for homes.

Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.

There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.

  • Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
  • Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
  • Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
  • Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
  • Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.

If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.

Need to know more? Read Fostering for Your Shelter and Fostering Saves Lives

The cats I’ve featured recently are from or were assisted by these rescues, shelters and organizations, though these are by no means the only organizations who are out there helping cats and other animals:

Frankie’s Friends

FosterCat, Inc.

The Homeless Cat Management Team

The Animal Rescue League and Wildlife Center of Western Pennsylvania

The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society

In Care of Cats

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

cats for adoption

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