Dedicated dog lover adopts two cats with feline immunodeficiency virus

Best Friends member, dog lover, and dog agility trainer learns about the feline immunodeficiency virus and adopts two FIV cats.
By Denise LeBeau

Edgar, a cat with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), was rescued as a kitten by the Humane Society of Greater Dayton (HSGD) from a hoarding case in April 2013. The staff and volunteers watched him grow up and loved him, but their resources were limited in properly caring for a cat positive for FIV long-term. The organization is a No More Homeless Pets Network partner, a group that shares the Best Friends no-kill philosophy, and as part of the coalition receives various types of support, including networking opportunities, that can produce unexpected results.

Salem the cat who has FIVFIV cat's journey

The adoption coordinator of HSGD, Jessie Huart, is beyond committed. Her life passion was solidified during a general animal care internship at Best Friends in 2012. “My work with Best Friends has also been very beneficial for my job with the Humane Society of Greater Dayton,” says Jessie. With the help of No More Homeless Pets Network specialist Michelle Logan, Edgar was accepted into Best Friends. Michelle then networked with other Best Friends members to see if someone in Ohio could help transport him to the Sanctuary.

Best Friends member, dog lover, and dog agility trainer Crystal King, who lives in the area near HSGD, was already scheduled to visit the Sanctuary when she received Michelle’s email; she was happy to help.

Special cat takes a plane trip

The flight went without a hitch. Crystal marveled at what a calm traveling partner Edgar was. He didn’t make a peep on the plane. On the way from the airport to the Sanctuary, Crystal stopped at the store to get Edgar some toys, a collar and leash. The drive to Best Friends had Edgar riding shotgun, out of his carrier, and again, he just enjoyed the ride.

When they arrived at their Best Friends accommodations at 2 a.m., it was too late to drop off Edgar at the Cat Admissions building. Crystal had asked in advance for the housekeeping staff to lend her a litter box, so after she got Edgar settled in for the night, they spent more quality time together.

Learning about the feline immunodeficiency virus

Crystal got Edgar where he needed to go the next day and then jumped in to volunteer as planned. While volunteering at Cat World, she attended an FIV presentation to learn more about Edgar’s disease and met some 18-year-old Sanctuary residents positive for FIV, which proved that they could lead long, healthy lives. That sealed the deal. Crystal decided she would adopt Edgar. So, after a short vacation to the Sanctuary, he flew home with Crystal to join her pack of Shetland sheepdogs.

Adopting a second FIV kitty

Two FIV cats Edgar and Salem are now in one big happy familyAfter they returned home, Crystal found out there was a second cat positive for FIV, Salem, at HSGD who also needed a home. She started networking for Salem, and then thought, “Why not?” Now Salem has also joined the King family, where educating others about FIV is one of their greatest goals.

“While we like busting the FIV myths and educating people, the real gift is living with Edgar and Salem,” says Crystal. “We couldn’t be happier with them – they’ve transitioned so well into our home. Edgar thinks he’s a dog, and comes and sits with the Shelties during treat time. They’ve added more joy and love to our home.”

Find out more about FIV, and help spread the word about what great pets cats positive for FIV can make.

For more ways you can help homeless pets in your area, click here to find a Network partner.

Photos by Bill Franz and Crystal King