Nov 032017

Two years ago, Bruce the cat fell into my possession via the simple process of walking up to me at the post office and yelling at me… and then stretching up to me when I reached down to pick him up. As y’all may recall, one of the first things I did with him was take him to the vet and get him checked for Horrible Diseases… and he tested positive for Feline Leukemia. The vet said that this was a death sentence, with a lifespan to be measured in a handful of increasingly painful and unpleasant months, and suggested that the best thing would be to put him down promptly. Because I’m a sucker for a hard luck cat, I instead opted to give him his vaccinations anyway and to give him the best life I could for a few months until things got bad, and then make the hard decision.

This is him as of a week or two ago:

There is, it seems, a narrow window when a cat can show positive for a recently acquired case of leukemia, and yet the virus can be cleared out of the cats system via vaccination. I would imagine it’s something like rabies: an essentially 100% fatal virus that you can be virtually 100% “cured” of if you get vaccinated against soon enough after infection. Bruce, it seems, got *real* lucky. Kicked out of his apartment, living on the streets next to speeding cars, infected with a fatal virus, he yelled at just the right soft-hearted schmuck at just the right moment and now he’s living in the lap of luxury.

 Posted by at 9:07 am
  • TheRequimen

    Is he still isolated from the other cats? If he made it, is he clean of Feline Leukemia, or will he continue to carry it?

    • Scottlowther

      Bruce now lives elsewhere, but he lives with another cat who was formerly mine… Tak. The roll around a wrestle and scrap all the time, free from quarantine. He no longer tests positive for Leukemia. What’s shown in the photos is Bruce looking through the screen door in the garage. He spends much of his day looking into the garage… Apparently he saw a mouse in there once.

      • TheRequimen

        Forgot you found a home for him. Nice to see him happy.

  • Herp McDerp

    Yay! Go Bruce!

    Even when cats continue to test positive for FeLV, it isn’t an immediate death sentence. I’ve been caring for some cats since August of last year who got infected as week-old kittens. (They’re kept apart from our other cats, in a dedicated enclosure.) One of five died at the age of nine months — with little warning — of acute anemia; the other four seem to be perfectly happy, healthy, and active at eighteen months.

    In a few weeks I’m going to take them up to Portland, to the only shelter on the West Coast that accepts FeLV-positive cats; there’s a long waiting list to get in. The people there tell me they’ve had cats that survived for more than a decade … but some last only a few months.

  • David Winfrey

    Lovely cat! I’ve a white cat that sat in my front yard for a couple of days until I realized he was deaf, and took him in to live with the (now) four others (five in all, including one who fell into a vertical drainage pipe as a kitten, and cautiously climbed up a roll of carpet to be adopted.

  • se jones

    You made my day, thanks Scott.

  • se jones