EWN 09/09: The Truth About FiV

This is my article published in the Euro Weekly News Day, talking about Feline Immune Deficiency, and how it DOES NOT mean a cat cannot have a long and happy life.

I quickly had to learn about FiV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) last spring when big black Tommy (pictured), tested positive, and I had to make the decision whether to put him to sleep. Until this point, I had believed that it was a given, but thankfully Jos at the protectora explained otherwise. Tommy could have a perfectly good life if given good food and attentive care. Yes his immune system would be a little compromised, but not to the extent of an HiV positive human. I then read that FiV cats can live up to 20 years, and are little danger to other cats.

The girls in Germany said they could find him a home, but it may take a little while, and of course Tommy should be kept away from non-FiV cats, so needed a special foster home. It was at this point, desperate to save this beautiful old bruiser (he was crying all day and night in a big cage at a local cat rescue), that I introduced myself to my new neighbour Erika, who was to become our star foster Mum here in Almerimar. I had never met Erika or her daughter Nicola, but did know they loved cats, so I had to ask if they would take Tommy. I had researched that he was no danger to their little Yorkie Joye, and the 2 became firm friends.

Tommy stayed with Erika for almost 6 months before the right home could be found in Germany, and during that time he acted as a friend and father figure to countless foster kittens. FiV is not contagious and can only really be transmitted via a deep penetrating bite. It is most common among adult, wandering, un-neutered males. Tommy was desperate for company, and we soon realised was not going to bite anyone. He loved the kittens and played gently with them all. The risk was virtually non-existent.

Tommy is now 10+ years old and has found his forever home with Socks another big FiV cat. Since Tommy we have homed his fighting mate from the rocks, big Chivers, also FiV positive. He now lives with a little FiV positive girlfriend from Hungary. This is the safest way but I do know of people who have had FiV cats mixed with healthy cats, and now that I know about FiV, I believe this is also safe, with the right cats. FiV cats are not the untouchables a lot of people think them to be. They are beautiful and loving, and deserve their chance of a happy life. It is time for more people to be enlightened. Thankfully for Tommy and Chivers, a lot of people already are.

Tommy With Socks

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