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)