Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

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zowie
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Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by zowie » Thu May 21, 2020 8:18 pm

Hi all,
Great to read all the helpful advice and the love for the FIV cats on this forum.
I'm hoping you can help me with my questions.
I recently adopted a 4 year old male from a rescue center.
To cut a long story short we've had him for 4 weeks. I took him in for his vaccinations yesterday, mentioned that I had noticed lumps on his tummy. They did blood tests, told me he had FIV and sent me on my way saying there is nothing to worry about and to get in touch if he became ill.
Obviously I am now worried. Not just for his health but whether he is the right cat for our family. To provide a bit of context I grew up with cats but have waited 15 years for the time to be right to treat myself to my own feline friend. I will only ever have one cat (grand plans for travelling during retirement in c15 years).
Anyway my questions:
He has enlarged lymph nodes - what does this mean in terms of his FIV journey? Does it mean he has just got it or his body is already suffering as a result?
He sneezes a lot and is sneezing more - cause for concern?
He spends most of the day and probably the night cat napping. He is active for less than 1 hour a day. Is this normal for a cat / is this lethargy from the FIV?
We live on the city but are lucky enough to have a garden and communal outdoor space perfect for cats. I am adamant that I want an outdoor cat because we can offer such a nice outdoor space. Will allowing him outdoors increase the likelihood of him experiencing a negative impact from his FIV?
Finally, and this is the big one realistically how many times will I need to take him to the vet in a year compared to a normal cat? The shelter have implied that they will help with the vets bills but I don't really need to take money from a charity. However, I also have not signed up to the uprfrot risk of excessive vets bills that a FIV cat presents. The biggest issue is however that I don't have a car so a trip to the vet is £40 in a taxi. No problem for 1-2 trips a year but we can't just pop in every time he looks a little sick.

So a FIV cat is clearly not ideal for us but I do appreciate that any outdoor cat is at risk of getting it. I would appreciate any guidance from your experience on whether we should try and rehome him to a more suitable family (with the help of the shelter) or am I worrying about nothing?

Thanks in advance - I am so confused!

Zowie

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fjm
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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by fjm » Fri May 22, 2020 7:30 am

It strikes me that this is something the rescue should have tested for and told you about before putting him up for adoption. I think you are wise to think long and hard, and to consider asking them to take him back. There is a vaccine for FIV, so a kitten from a healthy mother fully vaccinated when young is at very low risk of contracting it and of passing it on - and the risk of infecting other cats that share the same outdoor space has to come into your considerations. FIV cats can live long and comfortable lives, but they do have special needs and can be hard to insure. If this is to be your one-and-only cat (although you may well find yourself addicted to their company) I would want to start with a young and healthy animal that will be a happy member of your family for many years.

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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by booktigger » Fri May 22, 2020 8:13 am

Most rescues advise FIV + cats should be indoor only, partly because of the risk of them passing it on, partly because they have a weakened immune system so things can affect them more than an average cat. There isn't actually a vaccination for FIV. I'd also be worried about what the lumps on his tummy are - is there a possibility they are just his nipples? Most shelters will ask you to return cats rather than rehome them yourself

zowie
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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by zowie » Fri May 22, 2020 9:30 am

Thank you for your advice - it is aligned to what I've been thinking but feel terrible about considering returning him.

The lumps are on his side so not nipples. More like a hernia.

I'm going to talk to the shelter today and discuss options. Hoping we can at least provide a temporary home while they find his forever home.

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fjm
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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by fjm » Fri May 22, 2020 10:40 am

My bad - I was thinking of the US vaccine, which is not used in the UK.

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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by Mollycat » Fri May 22, 2020 10:57 am

fjm wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 10:40 am
My bad - I was thinking of the US vaccine, which is not used in the UK.
From what I've read it's unreliable and not effective against all strains.

It's hard isn't it when a cat has been in our family for even a short time, to have to consider giving it up again. It's a brave decision either way. And a bit naughty of the shelter not to have him tested, must admit I thought this was routine for strays - but was he a stray or handed in from a family home? If he was handed in, you never know, maybe that was the reason.

I was terrified when I took in my second cat that she and my boy could not get on, as I live in a small flat with no outdoor access and no realistic way to keep cats separate. It worked out fine. I was even more worried when my partner and his dog came to live with us but that was fine too. In fact when I got my first cat I had everything worked out, how my mum's house would become his second home so that whenever I went away for work she would have him ... and then second cat is nervous and not transportable and my mum moved to a place where she can't have pets, so all our careful planning went out of the window. It doesn't matter what you plan in life, life often has other plans, and we make alternative plans and we cope. I guess you see what I'm saying. This cat's chances of being rehomed again with FIV are reduced. Maybe you can think more logically than I can but I couldn't hand back a 4 year old cat after a month to possibly spend years behind bars. That's just me though. I wouldn't judge anyone for rationally making a different decision.

zowie
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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by zowie » Fri May 22, 2020 11:27 am

Yes Molly Cat, this is my dilemma. I'm a big softy for animals but is it really my responsibility to shoulder? I can't decide. Yes, if we'd had him for several months and something went wrong but as you say I shouldn't really have been put in this situation.
I think I'm going to ask to he shelter to find him a more suitable home and he can stay with us until then.

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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by booktigger » Fri May 22, 2020 12:17 pm

Not all rescues test all strays, in fact, none of the 4 I volunteered for did. You will need to check the shelters policy, some do still PTS

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Re: Newly rescued cat diagnosed with FIV - lots of questions...

Post by susand » Sun May 24, 2020 12:25 pm

Just to mention, not all FIV cats require a lot of vet trips. Some live to a ripe old age and you’d never know they had it. I had a lovely cat who was diagnosed FIV+ on a routine test at a rescue centre. I took him home aged 5 and he died of cancer aged 15. In the 10 years I had him I’d say he didn’t require any more attention from a vet than my other non-FIV cat. There are scientific studies of FIV cats which back this up. Unfortunately, there is a lot of unhelpful stigma attached to FIV, due to the presumption that it was similar to HIV in humans, in the early days, before much was known about it.

Regarding the sneezing, could this be cat flu related, rather than FIV?

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