Cat Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey ladies and gents, looking for any and all opinions on my current situation. All are greatly appreciated. For those of you who've seen me post once or twice, you may know that I've been a foster for one to two cats at a time, and have no other pets.

When I first decided to foster, I wanted to foster cats who did not have unusually high adoption impediments. That is not to say that I won't foster a cat indefinitely, but that I did not want to foster cats whose odds of adoption were already quite slim to begin with. To that end, I told the organization I would only be willing to foster young to middle-aged cats of all types, and with any curable illnesses.

Things started out great, I fostered a cat with a pretty severe URI, and then helped a cat who appeared sick only due to the environment he was previously living him. Lastly, I fostered a cat that came in with ear mites, and treated that. All was well between me and the org.

The dilemma is with the latest cat they have me fostering. He's a great cat, male tabby around 5 y/o, but they did not realize when they gave him to me that he had FIV and FELV. I had to call the vet a month later to find out the tests came back positive. This is unusual since they always have their cats tested and results determined before even going into foster homes.

I read up on how like 30% of the cat pop with FELV or FIV will be forever asymptomatic, the rest can face things like cancer or blood disorders, among many immune-suppression complications. So I first told them I did not want to continue fostering the cat, which they got super upset about. They gave me the choice then of continuing to foster him, or quit the org. So I said I'll keep him.

A week ago, someone came to visit him, and despite supposedly being informed of everything, she only knew that he had FIV. At that point I had to tell her about FELV but I couldn't tell her the worst of it, like cancer, anemia, etc. mainly because I cannot get past my own bias against selling a cat with so many diseases, and because the visitor clearly stated she does not want another cat who can die suddenly in between wellness visits like her last cat did (it died of kidney failure at 16, she only had it for 4 years).

So I was upset at the fact that a home visitor was not aware of his FELV (only the FIV) and was not very interested in special needs cats like this to boot. I emailed the foster org saying as much. I also said I am not willing to keep educating visitors on these diseases. The organization always makes sure the potential adopters are cool with special needs cats before sending them to one's home, and they told me they did in this case. It was just a confusion on the visitor's part.

Still, they got upset at me again and decided I should not be fostering this cat anymore. That implied (I think) that I am also booted from the org after this cat leaves me.

I still want to foster with this org; they get a lot of great cats and mines the only one out of their 30-50 some odd cats that have both fiv and felv, let alone felv (like 1 of 3). But the original problem I had with fostering cats with these lifelong diseases is that I cannot, in good faith, try to market this cat to potential adopters, because I honestly do not want to place such a heavy burden, vet bills etc., onto someone else. I'd feel deceitful if I said anything less than the full-blown possibilities of FIV/FELV+, and that, to me, is not a cat I would want to put onto someone else. I realize he may be lucky and never get symptoms, but it's still hard for me to look past when it comes to marketing him to adopters. He should either be in some kind of sanctuary, or given to another foster who said from the start that they are wiling to take on cats with such high odds to adoption. I explicitly stated from the start that I'm not, so I feel a bit like I'm getting screwed here if they kick me out of the org now.

I feel like this cat has unbelievably high impediments to adoption because on top of his FIV and FELV, which already makes the odds increase 10 fold, he does not get along with other cats, or dogs. I did not sign up to foster cats with such high odds to adoption, and honestly foster orgs should be happy that I am willing to foster for them in the first place. I don't think I'm creating some super tricky conditions for me to foster under.

Thoughts/opinions? I am going to get him blood tested for FIV/FELV this week to verify the first test's results. Is there something I am missing here that might help me get past my own personal hurdles to fostering this cat indefinitely?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
I commend you for offering to foster. I do not understand why the rescue group would be upset with you. You set the parameters on which you are willing to foster. I think they have pushed you too far. For them to boot you out of the group for only wanting to foster the more easily adopted animals seems silly. The rescue I work with has certain people for different situations. Some only foster the easily adoptable, some are our "bottle feeders", some take on the antisocial, etc.
Maybe they were hoping you would fall in love with this kitty and adopt him yourself.
I definitely would not mislead potential adopters. They need to know everything you do about the animal they adopt. I truly hope the new test has better results, but if not, contact the rescue and talk to them openly about your concerns. If they get upset with you, maybe you need to find a different rescue group.
best wishes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for sharing, I agree with everything you said. I just found out through my online research that, apparently, cats that were vaccinated at some point in their lives for FIV will forever test positive to FIV? That would be a small relief to know he doesn't have BOTH of these diseases. :fust

I'm having trouble figuring out exactly which test is appropriate for this cat. He already had the combo snap test done that showed a mild positive for FELV and FIV. Someone else recommended a CBC, but I'm reading online that a "ELISA snap test for FELV" would work best to determine stages 2-6 of FELV. Any experts out there know if I should get him a CBC or ELISA snap test, or both? Either way it sounds like he shouldn't get the snap combo, which I think he got before and the vet on the phone said they were going to do on him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great links, thanks. I spoke to the vet over the phone to verify what they'll be doing, he wants to do the ELISA and if it comes back positive, either the IFA or PCR. The PCR sounds like it could get screwed up more by human error than the IFA, so hoping he goes with the IFA. He was quite surprised to hear a 5 y/o cat has both FIV and FELV and is still alive, so maybe he doesn't have FELV.. here's hoping. I am dead set on not adopting a cat anytime soon, so this will probably end up ugly between the foster org and I if he's still positive on both, just because of how they've acted up to this point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,164 Posts
IFA. He was quite surprised to hear a 5 y/o cat has both FIV and FELV and is still alive, so maybe he doesn't have FELV.. here's hoping.
They're in the minority, but yes, there are cats that will test positive for FeLV and not show any symptoms. I wish my Smokey had fallen into that category, but sadly, he didn't. Of the two, FeLV is worse than FIV. Cats that test positive for FIV can live longer lives than the majority of the cats that test positive for FeLV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
To be honest I see both sides:

On the one hand, you were clear about what you were willing to do.
On the other hand, this is the cat they needed a foster for at this time.

What I definitely give you is that they should have been upfront with you from the beginning. I also commend you for your dedication to adoption honesty. I've encountered too many rescues that are deceptive. There intention is good. I honestly believe that most do so in the attempt to find homes for animals that desperately need them, but sugar coating and/or flat out lying is not the answer. This cat's diagnosis are going to make adoption more difficult, but glossing over things are going to up the odds of a FAILED adoption which is never in the cat's best interest so again Kudos to you for being honest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To be honest I see both sides:

On the one hand, you were clear about what you were willing to do.
On the other hand, this is the cat they needed a foster for at this time.
No kidding. They've managed to twist me into being the 'bad guy'. Paraphrasing what they said, they think its not fair for me to suddenly want to give up a cat I otherwise enjoyed fostering. They said their work wouldn't be possible if all their fosters wanted easier to place cats, and that that isn't how rescue works. They don't give up on cats that take more time. "You have no other animals and are the ideal foster for Pierre and yet knowing we have few situations like that want to "trade up" by spring."

I think they're taking advantage of me, even though taking in these types of special needs cats was against the my wishes which I clearly stated up front.

The foster org told me they don't want to have him tested for ELISA again since that's what they supposedly did last time, so I'm going to ask the first vet what exactly they did and ask for the results again. The org wants to go straight for an IFA to save money. Maybe that's fine.. but I think that puts too much faith and weight on the first test they did at this rural animal hospital. He could still have FELV, be positive on the ELISA, and negative on the IFA; he just won't be at stages 5-6 of the disease.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
AMAZING news! His ELISA test came back negative for BOTH FIV and FELV!! I think with such a drastic turn around from positive on both to negative on both, that the first ELISA was wrong. This cat should have a new lease on life now!! He had people interested in him until they learned of his diseases!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
OH wow, that's really great news! Do you have any idea why that happened? Other than the first ELISA being wrong...? I mean, how do you know which is right? Not trying to put a damper, just curious.

I hope he gets adopted soon!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OH wow, that's really great news! Do you have any idea why that happened? Other than the first ELISA being wrong...? I mean, how do you know which is right? Not trying to put a damper, just curious.

I hope he gets adopted soon!
No worries, I have my reservations but here's why I'm willing to side with these results:

It was done using like a serum or some liquid that is supposed to be more accurate than the liquid used in the first test.
This test was done in a lab, the other was not.
Lastly, it is very rare for a cat that's 5 years old, or any cat for that matter, to have both FIV and FELV, and still seem to be perfectly healthy/alive even.

But yea, today's news made my day!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update!

The foster org wanted to run the IFA test on him to double check the ELISA negative results, which is an odd thing to do but they wanted extra assurance. I was afraid he may come back positive on the IFA, which would either mean there was an error in one or both tests, or that he has a localized version of FELV. But the test came back negative!! YAY!
Unfortunately I think the damage has been done in the relationship between me and the foster org, but at least this cat no longer has such a heavy mark on his name. He should move much more easily now.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,240 Posts
The way I have been told is that the ELISA is the test that can show positive even if the FeLV has not gotten into the marrow yet . At that point many cats can still throw the disease. The IFA tests if the disease has gotten into the bone marrow. At that point the cat is a definite positive. I have known of many cats that are FeLV + and are asymptomatic, including my 14 year old Orlando. Unfortunately I have also lost several cats to this horrible disease, all between the ages of 18 months and 4 years.
There was a cat at the organization I used to volunteer for that was 21 and also positive for both FeLV and FIV. Unfortunately poor Alex passed about a year ago at an age that few cats are able to attain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,164 Posts
One thing you should be aware of is that if you have your cat vaccinated for FIV, he/she will always test positive for it regardless of whether they actually have symptoms of it. So Glitched, if you do ever end up with a FIV+ cat, ask if he/she has been vaccinated for FIV before assuming that the cat has the disease.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,847 Posts
One thing you should be aware of is that if you have your cat vaccinated for FIV, he/she will always test positive for it regardless of whether they actually have symptoms of it. So Glitched, if you do ever end up with a FIV+ cat, ask if he/she has been vaccinated for FIV before assuming that the cat has the disease.
I was thinking of mentioning this, and then somehow forgot to. When I first took Blacky to the vet they said they wouldn't test her for them since if she'd had the vaccination it would skew results. If it came back positive it would likely needlessly worry us as she is a healthy cat (always has been) and since we didn't know her history, all we know is that she'd been spayed by someone else at some point and had a blurry ear tattoo.

I also know quite a few cats that are both FeLV and FIV positive, some live long lives despite having both. Cats that solely have FIV can live as long as any cat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I also know quite a few cats that are both FeLV and FIV positive, some live long lives despite having both. Cats that solely have FIV can live as long as any cat.
Great to hear.

From the research I've done on this topic, I'm guessing those asymptomatic FELV/FIV cats were not viremic, but had semi-conquered the virus and have it localised to a part of the body, like the bone marrow or lymph nodes. Those cats have a chance at ridding themselves entirely of the disease over time, so long as they're not stressed somewhere in between, as that reactivates the virus. So if you tested a cat on the ELISA once and it came back positive, in 6-12 weeks (or something like that), it should be retested to see if it's fighting off the disease(s) or not.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top