My Stray Kitty's Journey

prof ash

O.G.
Jun 10, 2007
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432
Hello, fabulous tpers! Before reading, I warn- this is long! I wanted to be extremely thorough. It may be necessary to read with a cup of tea! :biggrin: Last year, I posted this thread about a stray kitty I was feeding: http://forum.purseblog.com/animalicious/how-to-tell-a-stray-vs-outdoor-cat-778377.html

I'd seen her around my street on and off for a couple of years. I fed her against my husband's wishes, and she'd come around on occasion. She did scratch and make low bellowing sounds, not wanting me near her - but she did EAT! :P

Fast forward to this past June. Would you know, she came back, only this time crying at my back deck? I fed her, and she NEVER LEFT! She literally has lived on my back deck/front porch since June. We started calling her Reby for Rebel. I called animal control, the local shelter, and my vet all for advice (as well as posting here in that same thread). I thought she was spayed since she has a clip taken out of her 1 ear, and she was fine around my male cat. I thought she was in heat, but she was just really hungry. Hubby and I made her an insulated cat house in October to keep on the porch so that should would stay warm. She went from being cautious, to letting us pet her, to purring up a storm and sitting on my lap. She would sit at our front doorstep even with a full bowl of food, just staring at the door waiting for attention. When she sees my indoor cat through the window, she drop and rolls, purrs, and starting kneading the door at him. It's so adorable. He's not bothered by her either; he actually sits at the front door crying in the morning with her on the opposite end when it's time for us to feed her. I've grown incredibly attached to her.

The first week of December, she started limping and developed a wound on her front right shoulder. DH and I were extremely concerned and called the vet who said to bring her in. Do you know it took us two weeks to catch her? We tried using a trap with her food in it, but she wouldn't go in. When I tried putting her in the carrier, she took off and didn't come back all day. It's been a journey with her. This Thursday, we got her in our garage and into the (mesh) cat carrier. Friday morning, she had tore or chewed her way out of it. I got a plastic carrier and we were able to get her into it and to the vet yesterday. It was such a battle and emotional rollercoaster these few weeks because I knew she was hurt but had such difficultly capturing her.

So we picked her up today, and here was the outcome:
She is a boy. He's neutered.
He is about 5 years old (IMO 3-4) and not micro-chipped.
He got bit by something on his front shoulder, so the vet shaved the hair, cleaned the wound (not infected, phew!), and put skin glue on it.
He had to get a top canine extracted and has a chipped bottom canine.
We got him all the necessary shots and stuff. It was an expensive visit!
The worst part: He tested positive for Feline HIV :shucks:

Now we have to make a decision. I have watched this cat go from scared and on the defense to a love puddle. I feel so attached to him and protective. What to do? We have a cat (Troy), and vet said FIV can be contracted if they fight and Troy gets bit, or even if they share water and food bowls. There is a Western Blot Test that is $190 that will show if he tested positive because he does have FIV, or because he was vaccinated against it (I think- or maybe that has been tested for it before) and thus is showing a false + for having the antibodies in his system. The possibility of him not having it is highly unlikely. We decided to get the test done anyway. In the meantime, Rebel is very content in our guest room with all the works (we prepped at Pet Smart last night in our sheer joy to bring him in). By the way- this cat has tried to come in before. He stepped foot inside and would sniff around, but I never let him in for fear of him having anything Troy could get - we knew he had to get all the vet requirements done first.

What would you do? Our options are:
1) My hope - he tests negative for FIV and is all mine!
2) Bring to a no-kill shelter in my town and keep checking on him, telling everyone I can who does not have a cat how special he is and to consider adopting
3) Keep him even with FIV+? Is this a possibility and has anyone reading this done so?

If we did not have Troy, then I would keep Reby, without question, with the FIV. I am so so torn up over this!

Thank you very much for reading my fellow animal lovers!!!!
 

prof ash

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Jun 10, 2007
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432
Here are two pics of the little love and one of Troy:

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Feb 20, 2008
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First of all, thank you for being so kind and caring to take Reby to vet so they could treat his injury and for seeing to it that he received all the additional care and vaccines. You obviously are a wonderful person and I can tell from your post that you've already fallen in love with him.

I have no experience with FIV so I really don't have a good answer for you. I just wanted you to know that I'm keeping my fingers crossed and praying that the second test will come back negative so you won't have to make a choice.

Please let us know when the results are back. I'm sure there are others here who do have experience with this and can give you some good advice should the test come back positive.
 

papertiger

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May 23, 2009
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You are so wonderful.

You have thought clearly and acted appropriately, I think you will do the right thing. Troy is your baby and of course will come first and I think that is the way to go. I pray that since Rebel was neutered he has also had vaccines and the test proves neg and you can keep both kitties.
 

cats n bags

Stinky's Mum
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Jun 24, 2008
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Your story is very similar to Mr. Kitty's story. I can tell you what I did, if it helps with the decision.

Mr. Kitty was a feral stray, and when TNR'ed tested FIV+. The TNR people didn't think it was necessary to put him down, that he would fare better than if he had Feline Leukemia. I ended up doing all of the extra FIV tests, and still got the positive results.

My vet also agreed that he should be safe around the girls as long as they weren't fighting and exchanging body fluids. The current feeling about FIV is that they can live a long life if you watch out for other health issues. Bites and sex are the main transmission methods. The cats share the litterbox and water bowl. Mr. Kitty eats different food, including Lysine, so they really don't share the food bowl.

I took my time with the introductions in the house to make sure there was no fighting, and they seem to do fine. If your current kitty is friendly with the new guy, you should be OK.

If you take the new guy to the shelter, many will just euthanize the FIV+ unless they have a special program for them.
 

prof ash

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Jun 10, 2007
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Thank you everyone for your words! I do think oftentimes the animals find us and not us find them :smile: The first day since Reby came and never left was my birthday, and I took that as a sign. Sigh.

Cats n bags, I am happy to hear how similar your story is. If we do give him to a shelter, it would only be to a no-kill shelter. However, I would much rather keep him! Your story gives me hope. We will do the test with fingers crossed. If he is still FIV+, it sounds like your situation is similar and that cats are doing great. I felt positive about how the two interacted through the screen door by sniffing each other and rolling/kneading. It will probably be very different when he is in Troy's territory, though.

On another note...Reby is still in the guest room purring under the bed. He needs healing time what with the tooth pull, shots, sedative, nail trimming, and wound cleaning. He's probably exhausted and just needs R&R in a warm place! He is looking at us like "What did I just go through?!?" - so the healing time for him gives us time to think :smile:
 

pixiejenna

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Apr 5, 2009
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What a cutie! He's lucky to have found such a nice family to take him in. Cats n Bags is right a lot of shelters will unitize a FIV cat very few have programs for them, so if you go that route make sure the one you choose has a FIV program. I personally don't have any experience with FIV, hopefully more of those who do have experience chime in and can give you more feedback. I understand Troy is your main priority and Reby has also touched your heart in such an unexpected way. Hopefully the test results will bring you good news.
 

prof ash

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Jun 10, 2007
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432
I've been searching online to see how people fare with having FIV+/- cats living in the same household. I found this website:

http://www.v63.net/catsanctuary/mixed_households.html

and it has a lot of stories from people who've had both. Every one says that their FIV- cat(s) never contracted if from the + cats. Of course, this is me reading it with wishful thinking - there is still a chance. It seems that it has to be blood-blood or saliva-blood, but that saliva-saliva doesn't transmit it. They're both pretty laid-back cats around each other, so I am hopeful that Reby would never try to bite Troy. I think it helps that she only has 2.5 front teeth now as well in terms of biting Troy (not meant to be funny, the poor dear!)

He is doing great in the guest room - he came over from under the bed finally last night and was purring up a storm to be pet. I'll post pics of him when I can get good ones :smile:
 

prof ash

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Jun 10, 2007
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Here he is! You can see the bite wound in the first picture. I think he looks pretty content in the others:smile:
 

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pmburk

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Jul 10, 2008
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First off, kudos to you for helping this kitty! You sound like a wonderful person.

I have had cats my entire life, and have had one FIV+ cat. We kept him in the house with our other cats, and none of our other cats ever contracted FIV. So long as they are not fighting or mating, it isn't going to be transmitted. If you are concerned about even play-fighting, I would keep them separated in different parts of the house when you are not at home.

Much like human HIV, the thing with FIV to watch out for is secondary infections. Cats with FIV will tend to pick up infections easily, and so you really have to stay on top of their health. Any time there's a wound or illness, they need the vet right away. They need a good diet. Our kitty eventually died from respiratory problems, but he lived quite a few years in good health after his FIV diagnosis (he was also a stray we took in).

I know you will do the right thing, and I really hope his test comes back negative. False positives are fairly common with FIV. Please keep us updated!
 
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sdkitty

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Jan 16, 2006
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Bless you for taking such good care of this kitty. You're obviously attached to him.
You have a hard decision but from what others here have said, maybe you can make him a full-fledged member of the family.
I know you'll do the best you can for both kitties.
Good luck and happy holidays
 

Catsandbags

Member
Sep 18, 2013
1,369
0
Your story is very similar to Mr. Kitty's story. I can tell you what I did, if it helps with the decision.

Mr. Kitty was a feral stray, and when TNR'ed tested FIV+. The TNR people didn't think it was necessary to put him down, that he would fare better than if he had Feline Leukemia. I ended up doing all of the extra FIV tests, and still got the positive results.

My vet also agreed that he should be safe around the girls as long as they weren't fighting and exchanging body fluids. The current feeling about FIV is that they can live a long life if you watch out for other health issues. Bites and sex are the main transmission methods. The cats share the litterbox and water bowl. Mr. Kitty eats different food, including Lysine, so they really don't share the food bowl.

I took my time with the introductions in the house to make sure there was no fighting, and they seem to do fine. If your current kitty is friendly with the new guy, you should be OK.

If you take the new guy to the shelter, many will just euthanize the FIV+ unless they have a special program for them.

First off! Hello to my almost name twin!! I have a similar story. I rescued a stray(a huge Tomcat I named Max) he was an outdoor kitty for awhile. He showed up at my parents house and I convinced them to feed him. His health became very poor after 6 months. When he was on his last legs I managed to convince him to get in a cat carrier and go to the vet. The vet confirmed he was FIV positive ( we had suspected it as he was a male who was not neutered). I got him neutered and convinced my parents to take him in. He lived in a little cat haven we set up in their garage( they have another female already). For months I drove over and visited him everyday. After awhile he then moved to a guest room. Now he roams the house and is so in love with their other cat( but as an elderly lady she does not really like him much :smile: ). It's possible to have FIV positive and negative cats together. It takes a lot of effort but is so worth it in the end. He is the love of my life.
 

buzzytoes

Dog Chauffeur
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Jun 7, 2008
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I have no advice, but have found that it is pretty common for people to have kitty in the house with FIV+ and living with the others. Hopefully Reby will live a nice, long life, despite his diagnosis. Have you considered the option of just keeping him as a porch cat? It sounds like you were taking care of him quite well before you brought him inside. I am not sure how long things like feline luekemia to show up but you might want to run another blood test in a month or so (if you keep him) just to make sure he didn't catch anything from the bite. Good luck! He is a handsome guy!
 

prof ash

O.G.
Jun 10, 2007
2,412
432
Hi all! Here is a recent picture of the kitty :smile: He is enjoying life in the guest bedroom...lots of purring and sleeping! His wound is healing quickly. There will definitely be a big scar. I'm so glad he's doing well. The hubby and I are leaning towards getting the second test done but keeping him in the house with Troy regardless of the outcome. He is so content to be warm and fed, it's really precious.
 

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