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Friendly indoor/outdoor kitty, FIV+ - he'd also like to bring a friend! (Baltimore)

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  • Friendly indoor/outdoor kitty, FIV+ - he'd also like to bring a friend! (Baltimore)

    "Tank" is a neighborhood alley kitty who has been coming to my outdoor kitty buffet for several years. I got him neutered a couple of years ago, thinking he was a stray... I realized later, when he showed up with a flea collar on, that someone did "own" him. Whoops!

    Usually he just comes, begs for some canned food, and leaves. But starting a couple of weeks ago, he basically became a permanent resident. I think his family moved away and left him.

    Tank is a bit of a grumpy-old-man kitty. He is grouchily endearing. He is middle-aged, and when I had him fixed a couple years ago, he tested positive for FIV. (This is not a huge big deal, and FIV is primarily transmitted by bite wounds, so is not usually transmitted among fixed cats. Tank is not an aggressive guy, either.) He is friendly and likes to be petted, but mostly just likes to be fed and kind of keeps to himself. He seems to prefer to be an only cat, but gets along OK with other cats, although is a little hissy at first.

    He would be a great barn kitty, and would probably be a good house kitty as well. I've had him inside periodically (I feel bad for him when it's really cold) and I've never seen him spray. He's a smart kitty -- has to be, to have survived on the mean streets of Baltimore this long.

    He is now used to my dog, but goes up a tree or a fence if other dogs around. (See previous remark about being smart enough to survive. )

    He has a nice warm bed in my garage and I'll keep taking care of him, but I can't really bring him inside full-time. I would be happy to take him into the vet and get him retested for FIV and FELV, update his shots, etc.

    He'd be a great barn cat for someone who just wants one semi-friendly kitty who isn't going to be constantly mobbing them for attention.

    Will take pictures and add them later...
    Last edited by Erin; Feb. 27, 2010, 08:29 PM.
  • Original Poster

    Here are some pictures of the handsome dude!
    Attached Files


    • Original Poster

      And one more.

      As you can see, he's very happy to hang out inside when given the opportunity.

      He has a couple of fellow alley cats (my resident feral, and my neighbor's cat Freddie the Freeloader) who he gets along with fine, although he's not exactly buddy-buddy with anyone.
      Attached Files


      • #4

        You may want to have your kitty tested as well if they are sharing food bowls. FIV is contagious through saliva (i.e. shared bowls and grooming). This cat should not be kept outdoors where he puts other cats at risk. Be careful where you place him. You can also do a specialized test that can tell you if he truely has FIV or was vaccinated against it. Once a cat is FIV vaccinated he will always test positive.


        • Original Poster

          Canopach01, FIV is actually pretty difficult to transmit. You may be thinking of FELV (feline leukemia), which absolutely can be transmitted by sharing food bowls, and cats with FELV generally only live a couple of years. FIV does make a cat more susceptible to colds and infections because it affects the immune system, and they also tend to have dental problems, but the life expectancy is usually pretty good:


          Tank has been coming around my house for close to 4 years now, and has always looked healthy. I've adopted out two other FIV+ cats, both to COTHers -- one was adopted out 3 or so years ago and is happy and healthy; the other was elderly and died of kidney failure, unrelated to FIV. Both lived with other cats.

          The thinking about FIV has changed a lot in the last several years, but most of the vets I've encountered doing rescue stuff (where we see a decent amount of FIV) don't consider it a very big deal. Ideally, yes, he should have an indoor home since it would be healthier for him... but since he's middle aged and FIV+, the chances of him finding one are slim, and I'd rather he had a good barn home than continue living in my garage.

          At any rate, Tank is sitting outside my back door right now, giving me a stare-down and wanting a late-night snack. He would definitely like to find some more permanent digs soon!


          • #6
            Erin, I take it back...I did think of Feline Leukemia...I'm sorry! Hope he finds a great home! It is wonderful of you to take care of this kitty and putting in all this effort to find him a great new home, he surely deserves it!


            • #7
              FIV IS still "a big deal". Coming from a vet that does some "rescue stuff"!! Allowing an FIV positive cat to continue to roam and possibly affect other cats is not the right thing to do! It may seem like the best thing for Tank, but you ARE still putting other cats at risk. Neutered or not--cats can still bite. In my opinion, an indoor-only home where he is not a risk to others, or kitty heaven is the only place your poor boy belongs--NOT introducing FIV to a new barn full of healthy cats!


              • #8
                You are absolutely right LUVMYMARE. Felv and FIV are both a reason for an indoor home. I would never introduce and FELV or FIV cat to my barn. All my cats are tested and only healthy cats are introduced. Seeing these cats every day in our clinic, we have had to make more than one hard decision if a proper home can't be provided.

                I do hope Tank finds the right home.


                • Original Poster

                  Um, allow me to repeat... this is a cat whose "owners" didn't neuter or vaccinate him, let him wander around outside, and then abandoned him, who is currently living in my garage because it's warm and dry. His options are to stay in the garage or find a new home. And no, "kitty heaven" is not an option, and I think any of the vets I use for rescue stuff would probably fire me as a client if I suggested it.

                  I would be thrilled to find him an indoor home... but it's hard enough to place young, healthy, friendly cats. An older one with FIV is near impossible. Which is why a barn home is probably the best he can do.

                  He is not an aggressive cat and FIV is primarily transmitted by DEEP bite wounds, not play biting. Fixed cats generally don't bite each other.

                  FELV is an entirely different issue and a much more serious disease, and I think equating the two is like comparing apples and oranges.

                  The three different veterinarians I work with all consider FIV a minor concern, not a major one, and have no issue with the cats living in multi-cat households (or barns) as long as they are not aggressive. And simply by virtue of *being* outdoor/barn cats, a cat is at pretty high risk of contracting FIV or FELV. The only way to be sure a cat won't get it is to not let the cat go outside.

                  Frankly, I'm much more concerned about the lovely, but potentially-FIP-exposed, kittens I rescued and am trying to place. (who, surprise surprise, no one wants because they might have FIP) than I am about a cat with FIV.


                  • #10
                    I have an FIV positive male cat as well. He was a tom cat, with the huge cheeks and all when I got him. I took him to the vet to be neutered and updated on shots when they found out he was FIV positive. I was surprised to find this out 'after' they neutered him since they tested him prior to the operation. My vet explained to me (similar to what Erin has said) that it is usually transmitted via bite wounds and blood/saliva contact. That was 5 years ago.

                    Butternut the FIV cat is the sweetest cat, and extremely friendly. He goes out during the day, but stays very close to the house. I live on 10 plus acres and my neighbors do not have cats. He is not around any male cats and gets along great with my female cats. None of them have yet to test positive for FIV. He is required to come in at night and is used to the routine now as I think that cats get in more trouble at night than during the day. He has caught a couple of upper respiratory infections but it was obvious and it quickly resolved itself with routine antibiotics.

                    Unfortunately, FIV is quite common in the male tom cats as they transmit it through fighting. I see no reason why this cat could not find a nice home despite his FIV status.
                    Keep in mind...normal is just a dryer setting.~anonymous


                    • #11
                      As the owner of one of Erin's FIV cats, I can say - yeah, not a big deal. Charlie was FIV+ (among his other ailments - he was an elder gentleman who had done a lot of living by the time I got him) and it didn't slow him down at all in the few years that I knew him. I kept him with other cats to no ill effects - he even allowed the other cats to eat from his bowl on occasion (he was an opinionated old man, if nothing else). I took him to several vets of varying fame and no one made mention of the horrible sins I was committing by having this Ebola monkey of a cat running around my house (okay, "running" was probably an overstatement for Charlie - but again, he was *old*). He did die earlier this year - from kidney failure. Everyone that met him misses the old curmudgeon.

                      FIV+ is not a dealbreaker for me, cat-wise. Of course, I tend to like realistic cats - I like them middle aged to elderly and with big heads, more or less. So this guy? Totally makes me melt. If I didn't have my own "FIP? Who knows!" kitten taking up my last available cat-spot in my apartment, I'd so ferry my butt up to meet up with Erin. I AM about due for another Charm City Cat - it's been more than a year since my last.
                      "talking about love is like dancing about architecture..."
                      A Wink & A NodPlaying by HeartA Wing & A PrayerBest to be Elusive


                      • #12
                        Just adding another voice to the chorus of FIV+ not being a deal breaker if you have other cats- and wanted to mention that FeLV+ shouldn't be either. Having spent the last few years managing a FeLV+ cat in a 'mixed' household- even *gasp* sharing litter boxes and food bowls- it makes me a wee bit sad to hear that people still think FeLV+ cats are not compatible with - ones. If anyone happens across this thread who would like more info on managing either FeLV or FIV+ cats, please check out felineleukemia.org, and feel free to PM me.

                        I hope this guy finds a great home soon!
                        bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                        free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Erin View Post
                          I've adopted out two other FIV+ cats, both to COTHers -- one was adopted out 3 or so years ago and is happy and healthy; the other was elderly and died of kidney failure, unrelated to FIV. Both lived with other cats.
                          Cat #1 is most definitely happy and healthy. And his three feline buddies are all still FIV negative. He is a little more sensitive than the others, but I have no way of knowing if that's him as an individual or as an FIV cat.

                          My vets are not concerned about him living with other kitties, nor with his odds of living a healthy life. He'll probably OD on kitty food before he dies of anything FIV related.

                          I'm pretty sure this sums up Bing Bong's feelings on the horrors of FIV (note he is sticking his tongue out at the issue!).

                          I would agree that it's fairly important he lives with compatible company, but I can't imagine that Erin will just hand him over to the first person that asks. She is very good at placing her kitties and I'm sure will want to know the situation he's going to. I would love another kitty, but unfortunately only have room for a deck cat and we're too close to a road to do it comfortably. Good luck finding Tank a home! He's too cute.


                          • #14
                            Bump ...

                            Bump ... bump ...

                            Yours in sport,

                            I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...
                            Suerte Hostage Crisis Survivor


                            • #15
                              I live way out in the country. Once, we had a Tom show up in our back yard with his brother. We couldn't catch them. I wasn't going to trap them. After a short while, one disappeared. Tom stayed around for a couple of years. Overtime, he learned to let us love on him. We still couldn't pick him up. He was fat and happy until he disappeared. He had food, shelter, and love. I feel that is was better than certain death. He never suffered!

                              I would rather keep a cat for a couple of years than send it to certain death. As long as the animal isn't suffering, I feel that a few good years is better than none!

                              A friend of mine recently was adopted by a neighborhood cat. She finally took the cat in to be tested for FIV....it tuned up positive...She put him down before she came home. Sweet cat.....healthy otherwise....DEAD! I would have been happy to have him as an outdoor kitty. Better than nothing!
                              Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                              Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!


                              • Original Poster

                                So, Tank is currently curled up asleep next to me on the couch watching the Olympic opening ceremonies.

                                I bring him inside at night sometimes when it's really cold, and, well, you may have heard that we've had just a little bit of snow in Baltimore recently. So I've been keeping him in quite a bit, and he's just fine with that, thankyouverymuch.

                                He's not the most demonstrative kitty, but he purrs and gives headbutts and seems pretty content with indoor life. He's more of a solitary guy, so steers clear of the other cats and likes his own space, but he gets along fine with everyone.

                                He needs a home! He's good company, and even likes to play a bit, but he's mostly a couch potato kitty who just needs a couch to call his own.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Well, Tank has moved right in and made himself at home. So much for "I don't have room for another cat!"

                                  He does still go out a little bit (I try to boot him out in the AM when the weather's nice and make him stay out at least part of the day), but honestly, I don't think he's that wedded to the idea. He's quite content to sleep on the couch.

                                  He tolerates the other cats, but doesn't really like them in his space. He's not aggressive at all, he just tries to keep to himself and hisses at the others if they come too close. I have noticed, though, that he's much more tolerant of being in close proximity if that's the only way he can get a space on the couch. I think he'd be fine in a household with other cats if there were just one or two of them and he had plenty of space to himself.

                                  He's a friendly guy, likes to be petted, but doesn't demand attention. Just an all around nice boy.
                                  Attached Files


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Sigh... Tank may have a friend who could come along with him.

                                    My neighbor's cat Freddie, is supposedly an indoor/outdoor cat. (This is despite the fact that the neighbor's previous cat was killed by roving pit bulls in my backyard at 3 am. And yeah, guess who got to witness that fun? ) Freddie is an awesome cat. My other neighbor and I call him Freddie the Freeloader. He figured out how to jump from my fence to my garage to her 2nd story deck, and then goes up the spiral staircase to her rooftop deck, which is where he likes to hang out. (Hey, it's a great view!)

                                    I just found out that Freddie hasn't been back to "his" house in a couple of months. My neighbor told me he had "disappeared"... and I said, uh, he was in my backyard yesterday.

                                    The neighbor says that Freddie doesn't like his other cat, so won't come home anymore. I'm not sure I really believe this... but at any rate, he really should not be outside full-time. And I think it's about time I made him disappear...

                                    He's very friendly and would be a great barn kitty. I got him neutered and his first vaccinations over a year ago, and would get his vax updated and get him tested again before he goes anywhere. He kills birds AND rats, and he and Tank get along pretty well. Maybe someone who needs barn kitties would like a two-fer?

                                    Picture below is Freddie peeking in my office window from the neighbor's deck. (City rowhouse living... close quarters!)
                                    Attached Files


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Rubyfree View Post
                                      Just adding another voice to the chorus of FIV+ not being a deal breaker if you have other cats- and wanted to mention that FeLV+ shouldn't be either. Having spent the last few years managing a FeLV+ cat in a 'mixed' household- even *gasp* sharing litter boxes and food bowls- it makes me a wee bit sad to hear that people still think FeLV+ cats are not compatible with - ones. If anyone happens across this thread who would like more info on managing either FeLV or FIV+ cats, please check out felineleukemia.org, and feel free to PM me.

                                      I hope this guy finds a great home soon!
                                      Agree with you 110% Ruby! that site you mentioned is right where I went when I needed some consoling and more so, knowledge on the disease.

                                      Coming from a Momma of a Furr-family of FeLv myself People make such a huge deal about FeLV and FIV it's like cancer and AIDS in people. Back when it was a sin for someone to have such aliment, now - like cats, it's everywhere and MANAGABLE!

                                      I lost my cat to Leukemia he tested negative as a baby - then positive as a 3 year old. He was indoor only, never seen outside and fixed, puzzeled when he tested positive.

                                      He shared his home with 3 others which I still have. They all share the litter boxes, food and water bowls and will continue to. Chances are my two girls (sisters of my boy who passed) probably will come down with it in the future but I just make sure they are boosted for it and go with it.

                                      I would never descriminate them, they didn't ask for it. If could take on more indoor cats I would pass up the healthy cat and go right for the Leukemia and FIV cats!

                                      I hope Tank finds a home that looks past his FIV and just loves him for the Tank he is Freddie too!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Erin View Post
                                        So, Tank is currently curled up asleep next to me on the couch watching the Olympic opening ceremonies.

                                        Tank loves his Momma!