You Guys! Today, we have special guest Domino Wilde, the famous FIV+ kitty from CatWisdom101.com, a great holistically-centered cat website that is up for the Best Cat Blog award at The Petties 2013! He’ll be talking to us about what it’s like to live with FIV and his mom, Layla Morgan Wilde, is also joining us to discuss her role in caring for her special needs friend and to give us specifics on how she integrates her FIV+ cat with her other kitties.
Welcome, Domino and Layla!
Domino (D): Thanks and purrs to you Crepes for being an advocate and voice for special needs cat. Thanks also to your mom, Alana, for editing.
Crepes (C): My Pleasure. Domino, tell me, as an FIV + cat, what is your daily life like?
D: Cats don’t think in terms of labels. We are what we are and in my case I happen to be FIV+. Not only am an FIV cat but a former feral. Life outdoors was tough and I got into many bloody fights. My life now, since I, ahem, lost the family jewels and decided to live indoors, is heaven. I never have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. I have three fur brothers to play, snuggle, and just hang out with. I also discovered the joys of human touch. Who knew feral cats could be lap cats? I confess to being madly in love with my cat daddy and love drooling in bliss while making biscuits.
C: Did you bring me any biscuits? I really like biscuits.
D: Sorry, no.
C: I see. You live with three other cats, two of whom are special needs due to their vision impairment. Has any of them ever seemed uncomfortable about your FIV+ status?
D: The three cats I live with all get along famously. Cats are not judgmental. None of us is perfect but we don’t care. We first got acquainted outdoors at a distance. They respected my distance and knew I had a rough time living on the porch. I came indoors after being neutered and recuperating from a deep abscess in my leg. All three accepted me immediately and with compassion. I have a different relationship with all of them. Merlin, at almost 19 years of age, blind and with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) is my closest buddy. I take care of him, guiding him with head butts to help him navigate and we love to snuggle together. Gris Gris, who is almost 15, is not a snuggler but we like to watch TV and hang out. The youngest, at three years of age is Odin, my one-eyed wrestling partner. He is a mama’s boy and won’t snuggle with the other cats but we have loads of fun playing indoors and in the garden.
C: And Layla, do you take any specific precautions because of Domino’s status?
Layla (L): Domino is neutered and no longer roams or gets into fights, the main risk for contracting FIV. Since Domino and the other cats were already friendly, we required no special steps to integrate him into our household. He’s exceptionally polite and well-mannered with never any food, litter box, or other behavioral issues.
C: So you don’t have to do anything specific to prevent your other cats from contracting FIV?
L: I take no special precautions except being super alert to any health or behavioral changes like sneezing, appetite changes, sluggishness or wanting to hide. The FIV lowers a cat’s immune system making it harder to fight any kind of infection, from an abscess to a common cold.
C: Layla, did you know Domino was FIV positive when you brought him to live with your other cats? How old was he when he came to live with you?
L: I didn’t find out until after we finally trapped him and he received medical care. He’d lived on our porch eluding capture for a whopping seven years. He arrived as a mal-nourished adolescent and was trapped at about 8 years old. Learning about his diagnosis did not change our minds about adopting him. It’s always been a non-issue. We’ve never had a moment’s regret. Domino is one of the most remarkable cats I’ve had the pleasure to know: loving, soulful, kind, wise and funny. He’s an every day inspiration.
C: Domino, do you require any special vet care? Any medications?
Domino: Because cats with FIV are immuno compromised, we need a healthy diet and, let me say, I’m a little spoiled. My mom says my dad feeds me too much but I’m not complaining. Believe it or not, I’m not interested in treats or catnip, although I used to self-medicate on fresh catnip in the garden. I get supplements of L-Lysine and EFAs (essential fatty acids). My vaccines are kept up to date and I’m seen by a vet twice yearly where I must tell you: I’m a cooperative and star patient! The other cats are seen regularly, as well, and our vet sees no reason to recheck their FIV status.
C: And, if you don’t mind, how old are you now, Domino? Layla, if you like, you can answer also. I don’t want you to feel left out.
Domino: I am now a healthy ten-years-old and we celebrate my birthday on May Day. My mom is ageless.
C: Thank you so much for all this great info. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
L: Many exceptional cats are passed over for adoption or euthanized simply because they are FIV+ Please note: Humans and other animals cannot catch FIV. The virus can only be spread if there is an exchange of blood and saliva i.e. a deep bite. FIV can be transmitted from an infected cat to her kittens and FIV cats must be spayed and neutered and ideally remain indoors. With a little extra love and care, FIV cats can live almost as long as regular cats and bring endless joy. Adopting Domino was the best decision ever!
I know they’re too shy to say so, but my friends here are up for a Petties award for Best Cat Blog! Please take a moment to vote to support this lovely cat family and the good work they do spreading information about holistic cat care and proving that special needs cats are worth the effort.
PS. Vote for Catalogue. We need all the help we can get running against Grumpy Cat!