The Animator's Wife Needs Your Help!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@CrochetKitten) have probably already figured out that The Animator's Wife brought home the most precious cargo earlier this week: a box of 5-week-old kittens!

Group 1

It took me a while to realize they were here, as The Animator's Wife came home and immediately stowed the carrier in the bathroom before I had a chance to see what was inside. I didn't think anything of it right away, as she has never been one to hide anything from me in the past, but when Osiris began stalking the bathroom door and hissing at it, I knew something was up.

It turns out these particular kittens tested positive for a disease called FIV, which is why The Animator's Wife wants to keep me and Osiris away from them. She said FIV is a kitty disease similar to a human disease called HIV, in that it makes them more susceptible to illnesses and less able to heal themselves. But she also said that these kittens are young enough that the test may have only been picking up antibodies they recieved from their mother, and they might not actually have the disease at all.

This is where the trouble lies. The antibodies from the mother may stay in their systems until they are six months old, meaning the kittens will continue to test positive as long as they have their mother's antibodies. If we take them to a shelter now, they will be euthanized because they will test positive for FIV, regardless of whether or not they actually have it. So we need to find someone who can take care of them until they are either six months old or until they test negative on an FIV test, whichever comes first. The problem is that they can't stay with us, because the only place we have to put them right now to keep them away from Osiris and me is the bathroom, and I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to spend the first six months of my life in a cramped bathroom.

So if you know of anyone in the Washington, D.C. area that either doesn't have cats or could spare a room for them for potentially six months, please let us know. If they test negative before six months, one of the local rescue groups can take them after that. If they still test positive after six months, The Animator's Wife knows of an FIV colony where they can live and not be euthanized, but we would like to give them the chance to test negative first.

It's really frustrating for me not to be able to see them or play with them. I walk by the bathroom and hear them playing with their little jingly balls (wait minute--are those my jingly balls? I haven't seen them in a while...) and I just itch at the opportunity to show them what those balls can really do. I did see pictures of them though. They're pretty cute. Even The Animator, who swore "No Pets" in his office after The Terror came to live with us, has taken a liking to them.

Elliette & Skimbleshanks Bombalurina & Righley

The Terror doesn't seem to be as excited about them. In fact, he almost seems afraid of them.

Righley & Kittens

Hahaha! Now HE can experience what it feels like to be afraid of something in your own home!


  1. AnonymousJune 08, 2009

    Hi there,

    They may stay FIV+, and this may well never be a problem. What is a problem is that so many vets aren't up to date with the facts about transmission of the virus. I've got a wonderful FIV+ cat and five FIV- cats. They're all in perfect health and they all live together. It's only superficially like HIV, by the way, as it's far less likely than the human version to shorten the life-span. Anyone considering these kittens might look at this page:

  2. Thanks for bringing this up! That's a good point, I should have mentioned how FIV is transmitted, which is primarily through cat bites. If all the cats in your household get along perfectly well, then it is certainly reasonable to assume that the virus will not transfer from one to another, since they likely will not be biting each other. FIV, like HIV, does not survive in the environment and therefore will not be transmitted by coming in contact with "contaminated" objects (and we've actually been letting the kittens out for some playtime every evening with Osiris and me locked up).

    The problem with finding fosters for these guys is that no one knows how other cats in the household are going to react to these strange kittens until it is potentially too late. Osiris has been growling and hissing every time he walks by the bathroom door, so I'm not sure we can trust him around the kittens. So for the safety of everyone involved, the ideal situation for them would be to either go to a home where there are no other cats with whom to exchange bites, or to go to a home with cats but with a spare room where they can stay until we can accurately determine their FIV status.

    One other point that a friend of The Animator brought up, regarding the FIV vaccine. While it is true that if the mother were vaccinated for FIV, she will test positive for FIV for the rest of her life regardless of her FIV status, this is not true for the kittens. They will only test positive for as long as their mother's antibodies are in their systems.

    And YES--FIV positive cats can live long, happy lives (as long as they're kept indoors), which is why we're so desperate to give these guys a chance! Being FIV positive simply means that they will eventually become more susceptible to diseases and infections and less able to heal themselves.

  3. Hi Selena - I came over from WHSKR's blog. We had the same situation with a kitten we adopted - he had gotten the FIV antibodies from his mom. We had to keep him in isolation for (as far as I can remember) 60 days, and then the vet did an IFA test, which is more accurate, and he tested negative. I just wanted to check and make sure you'd talked to your vet regarding the IFA test? You might already know about this - but thought I'd ask!

    Sending lots of good thoughts that you find a foster home for these guys!

    All the best,

  4. Thanks for the suggestion, Mishkat! The Feline Foundation of Greater Washington has graciously offered to send the kittens to one of their vets for retesting at the end of the month (even though they don't have any fosters available), so we will see if they'd rather do an IFA than an ELISA.

  5. Good to hear that - that is very kind of them! We will keep our fingers and paws crossed here that there's a good result (and that your humans find a foster home.)