Nine Lives Foundation Shelter, Room 8 ...

Posted on 11/2/11
By:   Deanna Graham
Nine Lives Board Member

Room 8 is a large space with sofas, chairs, tables, cat trees and lots of residents, 22 in fact.  The cats are either walking around, eating from two different feeding stations or asleep.  Some days, you'll see volunteers sitting on the sofa or on the floor with several of the Room 8 residents on their laps, giving them head-butts or just sitting near them waiting for pets.

The cats are all happy and very active, they look like all the cats in various condo's in the Nine Lives Shelter on Rolison Road in Redwood City, California, but they're not.  These 22 lovable cats are all FIV+.  Even though I've heard about the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), I didn't know that much about it.  Talking with Joe and Georgia, two Nine Lives volunteers, they told me that FIV+ cats have contracted the virus from cat fights and serious bites.  It is estimated that most infections come from feral, free-roaming, aggressive cats that attack and bite other cats.  Cats kept indoors are much less likely to be infected.  Sadly, a FIV+ mother can pass the virus on to her kittens as they pass through the birth canal or by the milk they drink after birth.

Joe told us that he and his wife adopted a FIV+ cat and she lived to be 19 years old.  Joe told me, "She died of old age, not FIV."

Georgia also told us she wouldn't hesitate adopting one of our FIV+ cats.  In fact, she said that if the FIV+ cat is not a fighter and enjoys the company of other cats in the household, she feels comfortable bringing one of these guys into her home.  On the other hand, Dr. Monica Rudiger will advise adopters that these cats should be only cats, or their house-mates should also be FIV+.

I asked them if humans could become infected with FIV if they were bit by their cat?  They both told me that FIV is a lentivirus similar to HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus causing AIDS), but is a highly species-specific virus that infects only felines.  A number of studies, according to Cornell University, School of Veterinary Medicine, have failed to show any evidence that FIV can infect or cause diseases in people.

Joe and Georgia told me that a FIV+ cat normally doesn't take medications, but they do need to be watched carefully throughout their lives and taken to their vet once a year for their annual checkup.

As I walked around the room to visit with all the cats in Room 8, I decided to spotlight four of them for this blog post.  The other cats of Room 8 will be spotlighted on our Nine Lives Foundation Facebook page in the near future.

MORRIS is a big bundle of love, and is the first one to come over for petting.  He is friendly, outgoing and gets along with all the residents of Room 8.  He likes to hang out with the other orange tabby's.  Morris loves to cuddle and will make someone a great lap cat, with lots of purrs.  Morris is an American short hair orange tabby.  He's had all his shots, is neutered and in good health, even though he's FIV+.

Morris was rescued from Fremont Animal Shelter and was on their PTS list for euthanasia.  That's one thing he doesn't have to worry about, he is well cared for and loved at the shelter and waiting for his forever home.

Morris and two of his orange tabby bud's.

SIGONA is a beautiful black cat with more love than he knows what to do with.  He loves to be held and will wrap his paws around your neck and cuddle for hours.  He also loves to purr and will sit on your shoulder and be carried around.  He loves all the other cats and just wants a soft couch to sleep on and the loving attention of the people around him.

Sigona was rescued from the Sigona Market parking lot in Redwood City, California, and was appropriately named after the place where he was rescued.  He is an American short hair, all black neutered male who is up-to-date on all his shots.  Even though he's FIV+, he's a strong handsome guy who will make a wonderful addition to your household.  Sigona should be an only cat or share your home with another FIV+ housemate.

LUTHER is a beautiful cat with swirly brown, black and white fur.  As I walked over to the table where he was sleeping, he got up and came right over to me and began chatting.  I started petting him and scratching his ears and chin while the dialog continued.  I fell in love with this big guy.  The volunteers told me he is the sweetheart of Room 8, so sweet and affectionate and outgoing too.  They said he is quite the little leg rubber who loves to have his chin and bum scratched.  He is goofy at times, friendly all the time, and always playful.

Luther would be a wonderful only kitty as he is definitely the boss in Room 8, and will become your constant companion who will chat with you daily.  If he disappears for a while, just check your bed and there he will be, belly up and purring.  He'd love to help you while you're on your computer working.

LINDA (shown with Loyd) is a sweet, beautiful girl.  She is snuggly and an affectionate love bug.  When I picked her up for petting and scratches, she was light as a feather, and her shiny black coat was soft like a bunny's.  Linda is loved by all the cats in Room 8, especially Loyd, Toby and Edison.  They see how special she is and she can always be found snuggling with them on the sofa.  Linda would make a perfect only cat or a loving companion for another FIV+ cat, probably a male, Linda loves the boys!

Come and visit the residents of Room 8, they'd love to meet you.  We're located at the Nine Lives Foundation Shelter, 3016 Rolison Road, Redwood City, CA  94063.  Phone:  (650) 368-1365.

Nine Lives Foundation is a no-kill cat rescue nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation that works to address the over-population of homeless cats in Northern California.  Our mission is to provide low-cost spay/neuter services, vaccinations, medical care, shelter and adoptions for stray, feral, and at-risk cats, and to offer affordable medical care to local TNR (trap/neuter/release) and rescue groups through our on-site veterinary clinic.  Nine Lives provides all necessary medical treatments for our rescued cats and seeks loving, permanent homes for them, including those with physical, medical or behavioral disabilities.

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