Cat rescued by firefighters was euthanized because he had FIV

Rescued cat had FIV and was put down

Despite the fact that firefighters put in a considerable amount of effort to save a cat who had become trapped on a log in the middle of a canal in Leeds, UK, the RSPCA decided that the cat had to be put to sleep and the reason for this I think is incorrect. The RSPCA said that the cat suffered from FIV. They then went on to say that:

“Feral cats with FIV cannot live outside because of the danger of the spread of infection to other cats. They also cannot live in a household, as they are unable to cope in a domestic situation.”

FIV positive cats can live long lives. They can live a good life. They just need excellent care. There is no cure for FIV but cats who test positive for this disease can live free of FIV related diseases for a lifetime. Also, the primary method of transmission of this diseases is through bite wounds therefore transmission is fairly restricted. There is a third point to make which I believe is worth making and that is that FIV tests can provide a false or inaccurate or inclusive result and further, there is a low likelihood of transmission of this disease as mentioned.

I think if you pull all the points together you have to come to the conclusion that the RSPCA were incorrect on this. Certainly a FIV positive cat can live in a household without other cats and with a good caretaker for his or her lifetime and be content and free of other diseases. As for feral cats, yes the disease could be transmitted via a bite wound but that by might never happen and therefore in euthanising a cat simply because he is carrying FIV might seem to be a wrong decision. You are shorting that cat’s life on the potential that he might transmit the disease to another feral cat. I wonder if this was a good reason to kill this cat.

Alley Cat Allies state that current FIV test cannot distinguish between cats who are infected with FIV, vaccinated against FIV, or both infected and vaccinated. I wonder if the RSPCA were absolutely sure that this cat was infected with FIV. I would certainly say that the cat could have been saved and placed with a loving caretaker. The cat certainly seems to have been domesticated enough to be placed with a home.

The cat was rescued after getting stuck in Blackburn Canal two days. The Lancashire Fire service rescue the cat. Apparently the cat fell from a roof of a building and landed on a tree branch. The level of effort that went into rescuing this cat was not reflected in the RSPCA’s effort to provide him with a life.

Here’s a nice comment on FIV+ cats:

“Michael, although I do understand your meaning about an FIV+ cat not being as desirable as a negative cat, I respectfully disagree. In recent years, a lot of new information has come out about FIV+ cats and how they are just as viable as other cats. As mentioned, my two have had no issues at all. They share a litter box but it’s kept meticulously clean; however, they have separate food bowls. They seldom share toys since each has their own personality and desire different toys (other than toilet tissue tubes and paper cups).

At our shelter, when someone is considering adopting an FIV+ cat, they usually speak with me since I’ve got the experience. I give them handouts on the subject, relate my own experience and they decide on their own. As a result, we’ve adopted out 24+ FIV+ cats in the past couple years. I encourage those adopters to keep in touch should any queries arise. We make the point that although all cats we adopt out MUST be indoor-only, this is especially true with FIV+ cats. To date, every one has assimilated successfully in their respective homes, with and without other pets. We get success stories and videos sent to us, which we share. With proper supervision and love, FIV+ cats can and do live as long as any other cat.”

Here is a comment on the source page of this story:

“FIV is NOT a lethal virus. RSPCA at it again the big animal killing machine with their outdated nonsense. they need to update their research….. oh but they wont will they because they are so far up their own **** ANY excuse to kill an animal – there are many FIV+ cats living lovely lives all over the UK many ferals in colonies in the safe environment of sanctuary. Trouble is RSPCA cant look beyond their own nose and would rather choose the death penalty over life. RSPCA you suck and are a bunch of ***** (top criminal)

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Comments

Cat rescued by firefighters was euthanized because he had FIV — 16 Comments

  1. This is heartbreaking. After surviving in a canal for two days this cat absolutely had a strong will to survive and deserved to live. This infuriates me to no end. Sending love to this precious soul at te Rainbow Bridge.

  2. So why aren’t you adopting a lot of unwanted FIV feral cats and keeping them safe in your home or backyard? No money? Or is it that you really can’t be bothered with actually doing something more than typing on a keyboard.

    • I’m not sure what your point is to be honest. But my particular reason why I have not adopted a FIV cat is because I already have a cat and it is quite difficult to introduce a new cat under these circumstances. And I understand that not many people want to adopt a FIV cat. They have less value than other cats. They are less desirable. But in a strict sense they should all have the same value and they should all be treated equally. So what I am highlighting is a lack of integrity which is a reflection of the human condition.

      Lastly, I have a right to write an article about the rescue of this FIV cat. It does highlight what underpins cat rescue and whether they survive or not which is that there are in general too many unwanted cats and therefore decisions have to be made. But the situation shouldn’t be like that. And you shouldn’t be so insulting and rude to me either. For that reason I’m banning you.

      • I believe the phrase you are searching for is a quaint USA colloquialism that goes, “If you can’t walk the walk then don’t talk the talk.”

        Ever notice your ever-dwindling readership? That too is attributed to a well-known quotable, “Knowledge may give weight, but accomplishments give luster, and many more people see than weigh.” – Philip Dormer Stanhope

        • The readership is good and stable. There have been in the region of 50 million page views (a sub-domain alone has 10m page views). The site is ten years old and still ranks better than nearly all cat websites. Sorry Bethany or whoever you are. The Alexa ranking is still very good. Most sites are sold after 4 years. This is an exceptional site in support of cat welfare and I am proud of it. You would not bother to try and insult me if you didn’t know that.

        • P.S. What walk have you been involved in recently? Trolling people? Insulting people? That’s your ‘walk’ is it? Pathetic.

        • Bethany A, how dare you come to this website and insult Michael? He provides a wonderful and education service and his readership has NOT dwindled. I’ve been a member for years (FKA Gail/Boston, USA). As a Feline Adoption Rep for our local no-kill shelter for the past nine years, not only have I gleaned valuable information from this website, I have also printed out articles to give to adopters as well as given out the website address to adopters for further information. You assume things you know nothing about. If you cannot contribute to this site, do us all a favor and go away. The grownups are posting.

          • You are sweet Gail. This person is a troll and I am used to them. It may be man actually: Woody (Woodsman001). He likes to cross dress when trolling 😉

            I do get trolls because I have a purist view about respecting the cat and sentience. I feel cats are equal to humans. Many people just don’t get that and they dislike cats as well.

    • Pamela, what have YOU done to help the FIV+ cat situation? Not much, I’d bet. Meanwhile, I have a Maine Coon cat adopted from our no-kill shelter. We also maintain a feeding station on our back porch, and one day a Chartreux stray waltzed in and decided to stay. He tested FIV+. Want to know what I did? I did A LOT of research on the subject and found that FIV+ cats CAN AND DO live long and healthy lives, even with FIV- cats! My two have been together for eight years now, living in peace and harmony. On their annual vet visit, mostly for my vet’s assurance, the Maine Coon is tested for FIV. Guess what? She tests NEGATIVE each time. Now, how about getting off your insulting soap box and do something positive for society for a change?

      • You are very kind-hearted Gail. Once again this person is a nasty troll. His or her (this is not her real name) objective is to hurt me emotionally. But it does not work. It never has. I delete quite a few troll comments. There are quite a lot of cat haters out there on the internet.

  3. Yeah, your’s and the source page comment sum it up; the cat didn’t have to die. Moreover, it disheartens the firefighters and everyone who reads this story. Unbelievable.

    • Albert, I think this comes down to the value of cats. FIV cats are less valuable than healthy stray cat and kittens are more valuable than healthy adults and calico cats are more valuable than black adult cats and so on. And then people make choices about whether they should survive or not based upon that value. It is not the way it was meant to be. And what underpins it is that there are too many unwanted cats and therefore these sorts of choices are made.

  4. Michael, although I do understand your meaning about an FIV+ cat not being as desirable as a negative cat, I respectfully disagree. In recent years, a lot of new information has come out about FIV+ cats and how they are just as viable as other cats. As mentioned, my two have had no issues at all. They share a litter box but it’s kept meticulously clean; however, they have separate food bowls. They seldom share toys since each has their own personality and desire different toys (other than toilet tissue tubes and paper cups).

    At our shelter, when someone is considering adopting an FIV+ cat, they usually speak with me since I’ve got the experience. I give them handouts on the subject, relate my own experience and they decide on their own. As a result, we’ve adopted out 24+ FIV+ cats in the past couple years. I encourage those adopters to keep in touch should any queries arise. We make the point that although all cats we adopt out MUST be indoor-only, this is especially true with FIV+ cats. To date, every one has assimilated successfully in their respective homes, with and without other pets. We get success stories and videos sent to us, which we share. With proper supervision and love, FIV+ cats can and do live as long as any other cat.

    • You must do a great job of advising adopters about FIV+ cats and I admire you for that. But are you correcting false perceptions that some adopters have? If you are then there needs to be someone as skilled as you at each cat shelter.

      • When people hear FIV+ cat, unless they are seasoned cat owners, they assume the worst. I even had a (friendly) dust-up with a vet who has a reality show in the USA, when he referred to FIV+ cats as most likely needing to be put down as their disease is almost always fatal and cannot live in a normal home. Boy, that one ticked me off to no end. I sent him a very lengthy email with research attached for his perusal and (respectfully) asked him and his staff to refrain from saying such untrue nonsense again on his show. I never got a response; however, in the couple years since, when he referred to FIV+ cats, his demeanor changed. I’d like to think I had something to do with that, but it would be even better if he did the research himself and discovered the error of his ways.

        When potential adopters voice their concern about adopting FIV+ cats, I take whatever time is needed (with the blessing of our manager and shelter director) to listen to their reasons and gently guide them so they can find the answers themselves. It’s one thing to correct someone; it’s quite another to show someone how to find the answers and let them educate themselves in their own way. Time and again, those same potential adopters become actual adopters and are overjoyed at finding their own enlightenment. It works out better that way. Not all adopt an FIV+ cat, but they also spread their new-found knowledge with friends and family, some of who have come into the shelter themselves and actually adopted an FIV+ cat. That’s the best outcome of all. Everyone in our neighborhood knows me as the ‘crazy cat lady’ in a nice way and seek out information if needed. It fills my heart knowing cats are getting a second chance.

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