Rescued from the West Valley City shelter in May 2009, FeLV+ Raniya currently does not show any signs of illness. She is an excellent cat—wonderful with children and other cats (including Biscuit and Scotty). Raniya is a perfect combination of playful kitten and cuddly cat. She loves to sit on your lap and purr or chase feather toys.
A local veterinary school assists cats from the Salt Lake County Animal Shelter and uses them to teach veterinary procedures, including vaccinations and spays/neuters. If the cats are in good health, they are returned to the shelter for adoption. Biscuit was one of these cats. However, he tested positive for FeLV. Normally, he would have been euthanized, but Biscuit was much too sweet to be put down, and the veterinarian teaching the class came to his rescue and brought him to CAWS. Biscuit is great with kids and other cats, even when hissed at he doesn't hiss back, just walks on by. He loves feather toys and to be petted and scratched.
Rescued from a feral site in December 2009, Scotty had a tough life before he came to CAWS. When taken to the veterinarian for vaccinations, he tested positive for both FIV & FeLV. The veterinarian suggested euthanasia, but as Scotty is now in good health, CAWS decided to see what we could do to give him some time as a loved pet after all he'd been through.We initially thought Scotty was a Scottish Fold because of his ears. However, it was determined he had severe ear-mites at some time in his life, and they had caused him so much pain he scratched and shook his head until he had hematomas. Because the hematomas went untreated, he developed “cauliflower ears.” His ears are fine now, though they will never stand up. He also has three broken cani! nes and a few of his claws will no longer extend. He has asthma but is otherwise currently in good health. Scotty is a devoted companion and will never be more than a few feet away. He is excellent with other cats.
Calling all CAWS pet adopters!
We want to hear from you. Tell us your adoption story. How has your life changed since adopting your new pet? How is your pet unique? How old is your pet and how has he or she changed over the years? Why did you adopt from CAWS? When did you adopt? Share your experience with us. We love to hear from adopters, and your story could be featured in an upcoming CAWS newsletter or on our website!
Mark Your Calendar: CAWS Super Adoption Coming Soon!
Join CAWS the first weekend in May for the Super Adoption at
PetSmart: 389 W 1830 S, SLC.
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Give a Special-Needs Kitty a Special Life
At Community Animal Welfare Society, we believe that any animal has the right to a long and fulfilling life—even those that many other organizations wouldn’t give a chance. Our true “no-kill” policy applies to animals who have had tough times, whether they’ve been let down by people, suffered serious injury, or contracted a disease. Despite their "hard-knock" life, these animals deserve the opportunity to survive and thrive, and lucky owners deserve the chance to experience the joy of sharing their home with a truly wonderful pet.
In May 2009, the CAWS cat program coordinator received a call from a foster parent, asking her to make a tough decision. After being rescued from a local shelter, a cute tabby, Raniya, was diagnosed with feline leukemia virus (FeLV). The veterinarian was suggesting that the cat be euthanized, although she still seemed to act perfectly healthy. The foster parent who had brought Raniya in couldn’t risk taking an FeLV positive cat back home and the veterinarian couldn’t board the cat; someone needed to take her right away or she would have to be put to sleep. Despite concerns that her cats at home (who had been vaccinated for FeLV) could be infected, our cat coordinator agreed to take Raniya home to foster her. Then she did some research.
Information about FeLV, which only affects a small percentage of cats in the United States, continues to evolve. Cornell University’s website gives a thorough explanation of what is currently known about FeLV. Here are a few key points:
- The virus is shed in saliva, nasal secretions, urine, feces, and the milk of nursing cats.
- Cats at significant risk of infection are those who are exposed to infected cats by prolonged close contact or by bite wounds. Kittens are more susceptible to infection than adults.
- The only sure way to protect cats, even if they’ve been vaccinated, is to keep them indoors, provide supervision to prevent contact with other cats, or provide a secure enclosure. Keep unifected cats separate from infected cats in the home, and don't allow them to share food and water bowls or litter boxes.
- Under good conditions, FeLV-infected cats can remain in apparent good health for many months, or longer. Over time—from weeks to years—the cat's health may progressively deteriorate, or he or she may manifest illness at the end of the a healthy life. The cat may also have a treatable illness on occasion.
After learning more, Raniya's foster felt comfortable having Raniya in her home, as long as the cat was kept separate from the others in the household. Soon, Biscuit and Scotty, also FeLV positive, followed (see all three cats at left). Always concerned for their health, she keeps a close eye on her special-needs foster kitties. Instead of being sickly or fragile, however, she has found they are just as robust and healthy-acting as her other cats. And, they have truly lovable personalities.
These sweet souls now need to find permanent homes. Their foster explains how, for the right person, the positives for adopting these special kitties will far outweigh the negatives:
"The reward is simply being with them. It is also rewarding to know you are one of the few people who will give them a chance to live out their lives. It is really fun to spoil them, knowing you are making their time here the most enjoyable experience you can. The hard part is you don't know when their time will come. You have to prepare yourself from the start that they may only be with you for a few months. There is no way to avoid getting attached—the cats are simply too wonderful. But again, I approach it with the intention of making their lives as pampered as possible while they are here, so after a hard start in life, they’ve had the best experience they could have had when it is time for them to move on. These affectionate foster cats need you, and once they are in your home, you will quickly realize how much you needed them too."
If one of these special kitties tugs at your heart, there are a few things you should know about caring for a cat with FeLV (from Cornell):
- Feed nutritionally complete and balanced diets.
- Avoid uncooked food, such as raw meat and eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products due to the risk of food-borne bacterial and parasitic infections.
- Schedule a complete wellness visit with your veterinarian at least once every six months. Your cat's weight should be accurately measured and recorded, as weight loss is often the first sign of deterioration.
- Closely monitor the health and behavior of your FeLV-infected cat. Alert your veterinarian to any changes in your cat's health immediately.
Of course, FeLV cats may only live a short while. We know a number of adopters who have lost their FeLV cats over the years. Generally, they have noted that it is sometimes an easier process than losing a senior cat or a cat with a prolonged illness, as FeLV cats’ health seems to go downhill quickly—living normal lives and then within just a few days starting to decline. There is less stress and questioning over end-of-life issues because you will know that when a FeLV cat's health starts to deteriorate, it is their time to be allowed to humanely move on.
Help us give these pets all of the love and happiness they deserve. Send us an e-mail if you would like more information about adopting Raniya, Scotty, or Biscuit.
Volunteer Coordinator Needed
In past weeks, CAWS has received a number of volunteer applications. And we’ve discovered that we need a person dedicated to helping us keep it all straight! If you would like to volunteer to help respond to volunteer inquiries (phone & e-mail), figure out where people’s talents can help CAWS and support and encourage their continued involvement, as well take care of scheduling for PetSmart days and coordinating special volunteer projects as they arise, please send us an e-mail.