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Happy Tails: Friendly cat finds forever home, despite virus

1:00 PM, Jul. 24, 2013  |  Comments
Breanna Speth
Breanna Speth
  • Filed Under

Many shelters across the United States routinely euthanize cats that test positive for feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV, but at the no-kill Clark County Humane Society, FIV-positive felines are given the same love and care as all cats. This year alone, CCHS has had the privilege of finding forever homes for several FIV-positive cats, the most recent being Little Mew, a beautiful tabby cat with bright green eyes.

When his former family got a dog, Little Mew was surrendered to the shelter. An older guy, Little Mew was calm and loved attention. With his adorable club foot and sweet soft meow, he soon became a favorite.

Alhough surrendered with three other feline housemates, Little Mew was the only one to test positive for FIV. While his friends found homes quickly, misconceptions about FIV hampered Little Mew from finding a forever home as easily.

Spread from cat to cat through deep bite wounds - the kind that usually occur outdoors during aggressive territorial fights - FIV is not contagious to any other species. Once it takes hold, it severely weakens a cat's immune system, making the cat susceptible to various secondary infections. However, it can take months or even years for a cat to exhibit chronic symptoms, and FIV kitties often live as long as any other cat and have happy healthy lives.

While Little Mew waited patiently for months in his kitty condo, shelter staff members and volunteers explained FIV to curious visitors, but no one applied for him.

When Little Mew visited Marshfield Mall for last month's CCHS Adoption Fair, visitors were hesitant to give him affection. Although encouraged to pet and snuggle Little Mew, many declined after seeing the FIV-positive sign on his kennel.

Late in the day, a nice couple stopped by Little Mew's kennel and knew he was the perfect cat for them. Little Mew now spends his days snuggling on a warm bed with a feline sibling. Like all cats adopted from CCHS, Little Mew will spend his life safely indoors. His health and diet will be more closely monitored, but otherwise he is just another sweet cat, happy to have a home. Like so many things in the world, the stigma surrounding the FIV disease is far more harmful than the virus itself.

Currently there is no antiviral treatment for FIV, but every day advances are being made in veterinary medicine. Even better, increased knowledge and awareness of FIV are helping more adopters realize that they shouldn't automatically rule out the FIV kitties like Little Mew.

To learn more about FIV, visit www.aspca.org.

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