I think you will remember Pilgrim. He is a foster of mine from the shelter where my daughters work. Pilgrim came to me as a very sick kitten. It wasn’t long before he was discovered to be FeLV+. It broke my heart. I knew he would have a MUCH lower chance of being adopted. He would live in the FeLV room at the shelter with the other FeLV+ cats. This would keep him safe. (I believe I told you that this room even has a separate exhaust and vent system to keep these cats from being exposed to respiratory infections, etc.) But it would also mean that he wouldn’t get to live in one of the big cat rooms at the shelter. I kept him isolated (quarantined) while he lived here in my house so that he could not be exposed to anything that might make him sick. Also – I couldn’t allow him around any FeLV- negative cats because of the risk of spreading the virus to them. So he lived in my bathroom. And of course, he couldn’t live there forever. I finally had to make myself send him to the shelter with my daughters.
His experience there was a terrible one. He cowered in the corner that entire day. He was not only terrified of his new surroundings, he was also terrified of the other cats in the room. The poor dear had never been around other cats. That’s when I had the brainstorm to move him to my upstairs cat room (one of the girls’ bedrooms when they were growing up here) WITH one of the FeLV cats from the shelter. I had never moved him there before because that is a room I use in the Spring when I end up with kittens (which is inevitable). But also – in the downstairs bathroom, Pilgrim got to see me or Husband off and on all throughout the day. We were the only interaction he had with other living creatures. I decided to move him and the FeLV cat named Abigail (from the shelter) to that room for a couple of weeks so that Pilgrim would KNOW one of his roommates the next time he went to the shelter. Unfortunately, when Abigail moved into that room, she stopped moving and eating. So I decided to move another shelter FeLV cat (Whimsy) into that room so that Abigail would feel more comfortable.
At first, Pilgrim hissed at Abigail and Whimsy. But he DID eventually adjust to them. Here’s the thing. Those three could have moved back to the shelter at any time in the last couple of weeks. But another situation was developing at the shelter. And we were waiting to see what happened.
There is another pair of kitties who live in the FeLV room at the shelter – Glimmer and Buttons (mother and daughter). Back in early March, I went to the shelter and took some pictures of these two to post on the shelter’s Facebook page and Petfinder site. The girls and I wanted to see if we could get these two adopted together into a home.
They were inseparable – eating together and sleeping together. Then before I even had a chance to post them, Glimmer fell ill. She has been diagnosed with a terminal condition. We posted for a home – a hospice home for Glimmer WITH a plea that Buttons could go too and then remain there after Glimmer was gone. We were unsuccessful in finding such a placement. Glimmer has become too uncomfortable to have Buttons constantly curled up beside her and on top of her. So the shelter staff allows Glimmer to spend her days in the office with them where she can receive extra attention and get comfortable for naps. That left Buttons, for the first time in her life, without the constant companionship of her mom. SO . . .
Buttons is here in my upstairs bedroom-turned-cat room.
The hope is that Buttons will become attached to the three FeLV cats I have in that room. If she can find comfort in their company then maybe it won’t be so devastating for her to be without her mom (Glimmer). And once these four learn to live together as a family, they will go, as a group, to their room in the shelter. After that, I will have to hope that they will still someday be adopted despite their FeLV diagnoses. They are sweet, loving, beautiful cats who still deserve their very own homes. Keep your fingers crossed.
Have a good weekend.