Friday, May 6, 2011

Belle is Positive... and that's a negative.

Any cat that is taken into the rescue I volunteer with gets vetted prior to adoption.  This means they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV, and microchipped.  And if they have special needs we take care of those too.  In Belle's case, she had already been spayed prior to the time I got her, so I had hoped one vet visit would take care of all her needs and she could move to PetSmart to be seen by a lot of people and hopefully be adopted quickly.  She's front declawed and very friendly, so I hoped she'd be another quick adoption.  Unfortunately, things didn't happen as planned.  

Belle, a calico cat
Belle tested positive for FIV.  This means at some point she has been exposed to Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.  Or she could have antibodies from receiving an FIV vaccination in the past.  Since her previous owners abandoned her without sharing that information, we don't know, so we have to treat her like she is actually carrying the virus.  
FIV isn't all that scary.  It can't be transmitted to dogs or people, and it can only be transmitted from cat to cat via a deep bite wound or blood transfusion.  Most cats with FIV never even show symptoms - they live long, happy, healthy lives.  But when there are thousands of other cats to choose from (literally - there are over 1,500 cats available for adoption within 100 miles of me right now), people tend to overlook the cats with special needs or the cats who test positive for FIV.  Some rescue groups euthanize cats who test positive because their odds of getting adopted are so much lower.  But the rescue group I volunteer with doesn't do that, so Belle is going to live a long happy life.  Of course she's stuck with me until she gets adopted, so it may not be as happy as she wants. 

In the worst case scenario, FIV can cause Belle's immune system to stop working as well, and she could become seriously ill from an infection or illness.  But I've decided that she is going to be one of those cats who never shows symptoms.  (yes, it's just that easy).  She can't stay at PetSmart because the cats are allowed to interact with each other, and there would be a risk of her getting in a fight and spreading FIV to another cat.  So I take her to adoption events on the weekend, but the rest of the week she is here with me. 

I tend to have a bias against calico and tortoiseshell cats after fostering Scribbles and Whisper.  Calicos and Torties in general are known to have more "cattitude" than other cats.  There's no scientific basis for it, but in my experience, it's true, so I actually almost didn't take Belle from the shelter just because she was a calico.  But I'm so glad I did take her - she's one of the sweetest cats I've met.  She's started sleeping with me every night and she is so affectionate.  I hope that some adopter out there will see what a wonderful cat she is, and give her the forever home that she so deserves.  


browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

We always want calico cats around the barn. I've always been told they are "lucky". Maybe it's just around a barn they mean "good luck".

BrownDog's Momma

giantspeckledchihuahua said...

I'm glad Belle has you to look out for her!

Bailey Be Good! said...

I hope that Belle finds her furever home... every furry should have one. Even kitties. ;)

Good thing she has you until then!

Woofs & hugs,


Kari in WeHo said...

We sure hope she finds the right forever home!


meowmeowmans said...

Belle sure is beautiful! We are sure glad she is safe and loved with you until she finds a forever home. And you are so right ... LOTS of FIV positive kitties live long, healthy and happy lives (and we just *know* this will be the case with sweet Belle). :)

JulieB said...

Good for you! FIV kitties can live long, happy, healthy lives if given the proper care. She sounds like a sweetie and deserves a chance at a forever home. Thank you for giving her that chance! :)

Tucker The Crestie said...

I happen to be partial to calicos myself, and Belle is gorgeous! I hope she finds a wonderful home! :)

Jess and Glacier said...

Oh, she is sweet. The cool thing about her staying with you instead of at Petsmart is that you can tell all of her potential adopters about her fantastic personality.

Laura and Hans said...

Our Calico also had FIV and we named her Beast (gee, I wonder why). She was an emaciated stray when she found us and didn't take long to become obese (she would steal the other cat's food) and I just loved her. She died of cancer when she was around 4 years old, and I'll never forget her. She was a hoot!

Trouble said...

We have a torby (tortishell with tabby stripes) and she is the best cat ever. Don't let her name fool you, Trouble is amazing. She is the most outgoing, happy go lucky cat ever. I joke that she is more dog than cat. She greets you when you come home from work and tells you all about her day. When your sick she stays in bed with you and never leaves your side. She loves water and joining you in the shower. When she was a kitten she ran into a chair and gave herself a black eye (okay she suits her name) we had to squeeze a goopy medicine in her eye twice a day and she never fussed. I have had many cats and none have been as sweet and outgoing as Trouble. Torties are the best!