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Harrison & Laney's Story

I currently have one FeLV positive cat. Her name is Laney, she's a dilute torti, and a bundle of affection and typical "feline-ness." When I look back to when I first laid eyes on her, I never knew she would have such a profound change on my life. Laney has a success story from the very beginning. When I still lived in San Antonio, a client of ours called to say she had just found a kitten running across one of the many lanes of Loop 410 (which is where the name Laney comes from, "Laney the highway cat"). Since my clinic had an adoption program, we told her to bring the kitten in and we would try to put her up for adoption. Well, after about an hour she was finally dragged out of the car where she had attempted to climb into the a/c duct.

She was a mess of gray fur, scared out of her mind. We drew blood for tests, ran a fecal, and she was absolutely feral with everyone that tried to hold her. Until she came to me, where by some chance, she decided to fall asleep in my arms. Of course I fell in love with her that very moment, but I was sure she'd find a wonderful home. And then the unthinkable happened, her FeLV test came back positive. I was cradling this tiny, defenseless baby while people around me where telling me she had to be euthanized if I didn't take her home.

So here we are now. She's almost two years old and healthy as could be. When she was about 7 months old I decided she needed a friend. I found a site where they listed pets with disabilities that you could adopt. I was living alone in my very first apartment so I thought another cat would just be the topping on the cake. I browsed the site, and it seemed like every cat I found had FIV or it lived somewhere far away. And then I found Harrison. His picture was the first thing that grabbed my attention. He was a scruffy, skinny, long haired gray and white cat, and he was just gorgeous. I kept browsing over his ad, but everytime I just had to stop and finally mustered up the guts to email his foster mom. Boy was she glad to hear from me. Within a week he was home with me.

At first he was so scared. He hid under my bed and would actually attack my feet anytime I walked by. I could tell he would need a lot of time and affection. After the initial two weeks or so, he started venturing out further. He would sit in the doorway and let me talk to him. I would tell him how cute he was, or how pretty his fur was, and he would just sit there and soak it all up. After a few days of that, he finally let me pet him. He would come just close enough for me to reach out and stroke him for a minute or two, then he'd hit me and run back under the bed. Within a month, he was in my lap and never leaving my side. When it came time for his annual checkup, we noticed a problem. Harrison had a 4/6 heart murmur. We did an echo, and he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is basically a thickening of one of the walls of his heart. We put him on medication, and he turned into the most energetic cats. He put on a good amount of weight (I would almost say he was fat).

About a year went by, and Harrison started having seizures. Since I'm a veterinary technician, I took him to work with me almost everyday to monitor. He went through a rough couple of months, but then he seemed to get a little better. I think I tried every medication you possibly can. He had nonregenerative anemia, which is common for FeLV. But somehow he managed to hold on. Harrison lived with a PCV of 10-13% for about 4 months, when cats usually function normally around 30-40%. He definitely had a strong will to live. I tried interferon, doxycyline, everything the doctors at my clinic could think of. The only thing that seemed to make him feel better was when I was holding him. The last four months of his life were hard. He had many ups and downs, but he was sweeter than he'd ever been. Everytime I came home he was there to greet me. He'd meow as loud as he could, and when I got near, he would put his front paws around my neck and nuzzle my face. On 1/13/07 I put Harrison to sleep. Things just got to be a little too much for him to handle, and he let me know it was time for him to go. I've never missed a cat more than I miss him. He was one of a kind, and one of the sweetest, most loving creatures I think I will ever have the blessing of living with.

I know people shy away from cats that are potentially "sick." FeLV positive cats have the same right to live as every other cat, and I really hope more people will consider keeping them. I love my kitties more than anything, and I would never give up the experience of having them. It's hard. Very hard, knowing that your cat may die earlier than expected. But that's why we're here, to make their lives as wonderful as they can be in the meantime.

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Disclaimer * This site and site owner are not responsible for some of the information posted here. All articles are the responsibility of their author. This site is to be used for informational purposes only and has no medical credentials. All posts are written by authors and or owners regarding their own experiences or research pertaining to FeLV, FIV or FIP. Please do your own research and consult your vet before trying anything with your cat. Credit is given to writers where possible, please inform us of a credit not given or if we have an incorrect one.
This site is dedicated to Bailey, my positive and inspiration to keep helping positive cats in need.

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