This week, the Cat Program is reviewing the Feline Leukemia (FeLV) Sanctuary. FeLV is a virus contagious only between cats. This virus can be spread through saliva, mucus, urine, feces, and milk from infected cats, as well as, by bite wounds, during mutual grooming, and rarely through shared use of litter boxes and feeding dishes. FeLV impacts the immune system and generally shortens the lifespan of a cat to just 2-4 years after diagnosis, but some live longer, even much longer! Due to their shortened lifespan and because FeLV is so contagious, cats that test positive for FeLV have a harder time getting adopted and are often the first to be euthanized at shelters.
To help save FeLV+ kitties, APA! created a sanctuary for these special kitties to call home until their forever families find them. Adopting a FeLV+ cat can be a little different than adopting a cat who is negative for FeLV. FeLV+ cats must be indoors only in a home with only FeLV+ cats or non-cat pets (i.e. dogs, hamsters, rabbits, or any other animal since FeLV is feline specific) to avoid the spread of the virus and to protect the cat from possible infections. They also need to get regular vet checks and be fed a very healthy, high quality diet to keep them healthy. Of course, adopters must have a big heart to provide a loving home to these very deserving cats knowing that they will only have their companionship for a brief time.
In 2013, there were 31 cats adopted directly from the FeLV Sanctuary and several more adopted from foster to loving adopters who were able to look past the virus and see the amazing cats simply looking for love. Since FeLV+ kitties generally take longer to find their forever homes, APA! often incurs more costs caring for them. Please consider making a donation designated to the FeLV Sanctuary to help continue saving the lives of these sweet cats.