Caring for Feral Cats with FeLV and FIV
by Margaret McCann
(Blackpool, Lancs, England)
Some of you will be horrified by my account of how things are with me, some of you may be sympathetic. Five years ago we lived in a tower block/apartment on the sixth floor. We had three cats of our own, when I say ‘of our own’ I mean cats that had been chosen by us to keep as pets. We now live in a ground floor flat/apartment where we can have our back door open most of the year. After a few weeks, hungry, furry little faces began to appear on the back step, then nipping in and devouring our own cat’s food quickly or grabbing a mouthful and running off.
Our first feral we called ‘Sheddie’ because when it got to November he started to camp out in the shed, my Husband had cut a hole in the door for any strays to get out of the cold. Sheddie eventually moved into the house (flat) only to die four weeks later. We were very uneducated about FeLV and FiLV and all the other horrible diseases that cats can die of. Our (and his) comfort was that he didn’t die alone under a bush or something worse in the pouring rain.
Sheddie was only ill for four days when he passed. He was a young cat. FeLV and FiLV are rampant in Blackpool where we live. We will not turn a cat away if he/she comes to our door in spite of these feline illnesses. This area is rife with these illnesses and I doubt whether there is a cat without them unless they are house cats, but who knows if even they are safe.
We have homed over twentyfive stray cats in these past five years. Most of them I’d say have died of FiLV and FeLV, some have died within days and others that we have felt were suffering longer than they should we have had put to sleep. I am disabled, we are on benefits/welfare and can’t afford blood tests and fees for Veterinarians.
What I do know is that any cat that passes away with us is warm, fed and loved. Our original three are still with us, Bianca 17, Eric 13 and Tiger 8. We have 9 healthy cats living with us now and 12 buried in our back garden.
Thoughts please. NO VETS.
Thank you. Margaret.x.