FIV Won’t Kill Them but Our Ignorance Might

Distressing. A Washington Post Metro section column today, page 1, under the fold. Writer goes to a local shelter with kids to adopt a cat. They fall in love with a pair of lively tweens.

Shelter worker then informs them the cats are FIV+. They leave, without applying. Mom decides to go on Craigslist and purchase a kitten. For $1.

There is so much wrong with this story. So I decided to put my two cents in and send Ms. Dvorak an e-mail. I don’t expect a reply but had to speak up.

As follows:

“Oh Petula,

I love your column. But today you left me heartbroken.

We have two FIV+ cats – Blackie and Valentino – both found as strays, in poor condition. We nurtured them back to health through a wholistic approach, including our raw diet. We mainstreamed them in our multi-cat household. FIV is difficult to transmit and if you avoid full blown fights and sharing of dishes, almost impossible.

Blackie and Val have been with us over eight years, both full of personality and great joy. Blackie’s overseeing my writing of this e-mail. They are the picture of health.

I’d hoped for the happy ending as I read your story. Shame on the shelter staff for not providing better information. Every animal that’s purchased from a backyard breeder or pet store means another homeless animal euthanized.

I know. I’m a former Assistant to the Director of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Please reconsider and thank you for your honesty.

Best regards,

Note: Blackie is the black cat in our banner (original, eh? – that’s a whole other story) and Valentino the handsome tuxedo boy.

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