I took all three of the cats in for vet visits this week. Mostly they were well kitty check-ups, but there were a few things I was concerned about with each one. The fact that we had a stray infant kitty in our house recently (separate from the others, of course) was another impetus to take them in and just make sure they were all okay. When the vet and techs heard that we’d had new cats in the house who had been outside a lot without testing them for a few common kitty diseases, they decided we should do some tests. Marshal tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), the feline equivalent of HIV. He’s fine and healthy right now, and many cats live for years FIV+ without getting sick. But we know to keep him away from other cats, keep him inside and make sure he gets regular checkups. Fortunately, I took Kate’s cats in today for their checkup and they both tested negative. This means that Marshall and Miles most likely got FIV from their mom. This explains a LOT about Miles being sick. I didn’t write much about him being sick in the spring because, really, who wants to hear about recurring rectal prolapse? But the underlying issue was that he kept getting infections that he just couldn’t fight. He seemed to have a compromised immune system. Now we have a pretty good idea why.
FIV is not something routinely tested for in the shelters because the test is somewhat expensive and only about 3% of healthy cats have it. At first I wished we’d known. We probably would have let Miles go a little earlier, knowing that he was almost surely not going to get better and spared us all a lot of pain, expense and drama. I’m a little torn though, because if we’d known they were FIV+ we probably wouldn’t have adopted them. Once they were ours, I wouldn’t have traded them for anything. Marshall is a great, fun, healthy cat and knowing him now I would hate for him to have been put to sleep as a kitten. I’m also really glad now that the cats didn’t get along very well and that Joey and Dorian have been living separately from Marshall, even though it was frustrating at the time. Even in this, I see God’s grace and faithfulness.