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Adventures With The Felv Fosters

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by SheriB, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    21FB2173-3558-43D5-8F82-44717F90ABE9.jpeg This thread is intended to follow the experiences of fostering a group of FELV cats for my local no kill shelter. All related comments and discussions are welcome , as always, please be kind .
    Shortly after I started volunteering at my local shelter there was a kitty in an upper cage yelling to be let out. Her name at the time was Whisper, but she was LOUD! Then someone told me that she could never be let out of her cage because she had Feline Leukemia. It was one of the unintended, or at least unknown to me, consequences of a no kill shelter. In our community there was no place for cats with FELV to go. I found this unacceptable, and since I had a large, empty basement I got to work creating a kitty home. Hubby was a bit dismayed, but knew he wouldn’t win, he’s a wonderful man. At the time the shelter had four FELV positive cats in their care so, after a couple of weeks of preparation, I brought them home. They aren’t my first foster cats, or my first cats with FELV, so I felt pretty confident about being able to care for them.
    It’s a little under a year later and there are now quite a few of these precious babies in my care, I will introduce them individually in later posts. It’s been harder than I would have expected, and at the same time more rewarding than I dreamed. And like most cat people, I want to talk about them more than the people I know want to hear about them, so this is the place for that conversation. I hope others will join in.
     
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  2. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    The first kitty I want to talk about is DuckDuck. She’s the biggest cat I’ve ever had at 18.6 pounds. DuckDuck and Goose (you’ll meet him later) are the latest additions to our crew and their names came about through one of those funny rambling text conversations with my family and my pet sitters. As you can see she’s gorgeous with her striking tri-color markings. Something about the pattern on her face makes her look permanently worried, but she is impish and playful to the extreme. Being so big and highly rambunctious I have had to keep her separate from some of the older cats who get very upset or go into hiding when she is around. The “teenagers” (kittens also to be introduced later) love her but find her intimidating.
    DuckDuck is healthy, and I want to make that point, cats with Feline Leukemia can stay healthy for a long time, they just have compromised immune systems. But she has spots on all four legs and her belly where she has groomed off all the fur. They’re not sore, just bare. Being so energetic I know she needs more space and more stimulation. She and Goose have an enclosure to themselves in the basement and most of the time are allowed into a hallway, large closet, and bathroom. Plus they have access to an outdoor area. I let the teenagers in to play with her any time they want. I’m also working on making a part of the garage safe for them. I play with her with the laser a couple times a day until she is panting. I’ve also just started dripping Jackson Galaxy’s Skin Soother on the back of her neck once a day. Anyone have any thoughts?
    CC69F18E-26E9-440E-A7BB-24453ACC0675.jpeg 1908C889-BF3D-48EC-9DCF-1EDCB8B3F7CD.jpeg
     
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  3. trudy1

    trudy1 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Nov 19, 2011
    What a doll! She is so very lucky to have you and it looks vice versa! Never had any experience, thank God, with what you are dealing with. All my rescues so far have been healthy requiring little medical stuff.
    What do you have to deal with on a daily basis?
     
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  4. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Mount Fuji, Japan
    What beautiful cats! I don't have any experience with FeLV cats, but one of my resident cats is FIV positive. I'd love to see some more pictures of your basement and outdoor enclosure, I'm always interested in the enclosures and cat rooms TCS members make.

    One of my cats used to over-groom, but she's been a lot calmer since we started her on mood stabilizers.
     
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  5. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    It was very sunny and warm today so the cats were enjoying being outside. This is an enclosure I built under my deck, it connects to one of the basement windows. I have plans to expand it one of these days when I get a little more energy. In the picture clockwise from upper left are Minnie - tabby and white, Nanny - tabby. Aggie-tortie, Bette- small black, Harley- big black, anf Fino- tuxie. 004FD463-8C1E-46E9-982D-6D3773076E9D.jpeg @trudy1 Thank you for your reply. It’s not much different than taking care of normal long term fosters. Many of the cats that come to me have respiratory issues that we address with antibiotics and steroids. Once we get these stabilized then they are generally quite healthy. Occasionally one comes in that is either quite sick or very, very skinny. These take a bit more care, still mostly antibiotics and steroids but I also am able to give them fluids if needed. For most of the cats no special care is needed, I do mix a small amount of l-lysine in their food for the three that have permanently stuffy noses.

    @Norachan Thanks! I will make a note to include some photos of their spaces. I’m getting better at building things for them as I keep adding on or making changes. What mood stabilizers are you using for your kitty? Are they a veterinary prescription or over the counter? I can get prescriptions through the shelter if I need to.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  6. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    May 27, 2013
    Mount Fuji, Japan
    She's on Zylkene

    Home

    You don't need a prescription for it. She gets half of one of the smallest capsules a day. She's a very small cat and a whole capsule was making her a little too meditative. She would just sit there and smile all day.

    :lol:
     

  7. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    Haha @Norachan I need some of that for me! But thanks, I found the Zylkene on Amazon and have ordered some. She’s not my only cat with anxiety issues, so this could be a big help.
     
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  8. trudy1

    trudy1 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Nov 19, 2011
    They all seem pretty content to me...just that nice sunshine, a safe place to lay around, and lots of love! You’re doing a great thing!
    I’ve built a couple of enclosures, one is a three story using ripped 2x4s and wire. Cost about $75-100 ea. Now if I can get pics up

     
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  9. daisyd

    daisyd TCS Member Super Cat

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    Jan 21, 2017
    London
    Thank you so much for caring for these beautiful babies . I know nothing about FeLV. Is it contagious between cats ? Do they live a normal life span ? Wondering why they were not allowed out of the cage in the shelter ..
     
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  10. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    May 27, 2013
    Mount Fuji, Japan
    Those are great @trudy1 Really nice work!
     

  11. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    @trudy1 Wow! You’ve got some skills! I especially like the good sturdy hatch/door on each level. I’ve never learned building skills but have just improvised and picked things up as I went along. I may use some of what I see in your pictures for my own next project if that’s okay. And if you don’t mind sharing, what kind of finish do you use to protect the wood from the weather?
     

  12. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    Hello daisyd, welcome!

    In answer to your question, yes, FeLV is contagious. There has to be direct contact with saliva or nasal discharge so it is most often spread through fighting. There is a vaccine which is important for kitties that are free to wander outside. Kittens are at greater risk of course, but a kitten that tests positive can throw it off and so be clear of it when retested a month later, seems like about half of them recover like that. There is some discussion about how vulnerable adult cats are, and I have known adult cats who lived with infected housemates and never became infected.

    Cats with FeLV can live a long time, depending on other factors in their lives. It’s their immune system that is affected and that is one reason they must be quarantined in the shelter, to keep them from contracting diseases from the other cats. It is also to protect the other cats from them. The cats in my care that have not lived long have had other factors working against them like Calici virus, (not sure I spelled that right), FIP, and feline herpes.

    Every cat gets tested for both FELV and FIV when they are admitted to the shelter. Kittens who test positive get retested in a month. Some mature cats who come in are already very sick and all we can do is be sure they have the best possible last days and don’t suffer. Some cats have tested negative on admission but later they get sick and are retested and show positive. I think there is still a lot we don’t know about this disease. Here is a link to Cornell University’s brochure
    Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
     
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  13. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    Nanny in the chair above with Minnie licking her chops below. DD67D0A6-9581-4068-98EA-D6B96AC26539.jpeg EF835B44-1DB1-43B8-972D-4A0893B13C3E.jpeg This is sweet Nanny. She was one of the first kitties to come live with us. She came from a hoarding situation and only has one eye. I love her so much but I have never touched her. She will not let anyone approach her even after almost a year in my care. But she is quite relaxed with me in the room and very playful, even rolling on her back to play with the ribbon on a stick.
    Nanny spent three months in the shelter in a cage and most cats come around to being petted in that amount of time, but she never did. But I know she is happy and feels safe here so I am happy .
     
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  14. daisyd

    daisyd TCS Member Super Cat

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    Jan 21, 2017
    London
    They do look very secure and content . Billion times better than being in a small cage ! Thank you again . I’d always like to think if I had more time I’d help animals more x
     
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  15. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    Maybe someday you will get a chance :)
     
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  16. CaliCatCharlie

    CaliCatCharlie Living FeLV Pawwwsitive! Adult Cat

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    Jan 4, 2018
    California Desert
    8A6D0066-264D-4767-84D4-F696857B25F3.jpeg @SheriB This place you have created is wonderful! Brings tears to my eyes. My Charlie is also FeLV positive. He wandered into my life as a stray and once I found out he was positive, I promised him a long, happy life!

    We have a local no-kill cat shelter that has a separate FeLV area. I’d love to get another and hope to some day. Right now Charlie is pretty territorial over me and his new home. So he gets to be King for now!
     
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  17. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

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    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    @CaliCatCharlie Welcome! Charlie is so beautiful! Bless you for keeping him! When the time comes the shelter will be so happy to see one of their kitties get a home. If the new cat is young, like under a year or so, Charlie will be more likely to accept it.
     
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  18. trudy1

    trudy1 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Nov 19, 2011
    To sherib: I usually try to use treated lumber for the base boards and just pine for the rest. If you’re out of most blowing rain or snow no treatment should be necessary. The wire is the most expensive part. Five ft in rolls about 25 ft long. I prefer small holes in the wire but it’s whatever you feel comfortable with. I can send you more detailed pics if you wish.

    Thanks too you all for this thread. Caring for those babies that nobody really wants to me is a special calling, wether it’s felv, a missing limb or paralysis.
     
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  19. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

    319
    1,176
    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    Yes, it’s the “ unadoptables” that tug at the heart.
     
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  20. SheriB

    SheriB Thread Starter FELV and Foster advocate Alpha Cat

    319
    1,176
    Nov 12, 2016
    Western US
    FFDFB3D3-B73B-4603-8D96-C7A4BFA6DFE3.jpeg My beautiful, big Goose, DuckDuck’s roommate, was at the shelter for 11 weeks in a cage after testing positive. He was turned in to the shelter as an Unwanted cat (ouch!). We have battled several upper respiratory and eye infections with him and a reaction to a steroid and antibiotics shot that gave him a big sore on the back of the neck. I think we’ve got those things under control now, he seems good.
    He started out fitting in to the group but about a month after joining us he started to fight with the other adult males. He even bit one of them. At the same time I think DuckDuck’s hyperactive play was making everyone uptight. I had to separate them from the bigger group so DuckDuck and Goose have their own enclosure inside and one I added on for them outside. I’m hoping the mood stabilizer @Norachan told me about might help him. It would be great to give everyone more freedom. DuckDuck irritates Goose but he has her intimidated so she backs off. The teenagers get along with everyone so they are allowed In either space.
    Goose is a big lap cat when nobody else is around. He will cuddle up and purr for as long as I am able to sit with him. 27EB61D2-8D8D-4D11-8D32-318C10D4B16A.jpeg 39820A39-69F6-4B94-9E60-D2C3B4DFE774.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
    foxxycat, Shane Kent, Norachan and 1 other person purraised this.

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