There are so many reasons why an animal might be surrendered into Lort Smith’s care. For six-year-old Chester, the breakdown of his family meant they were no longer able to care for him and his many health issues. You see, Chester has a heart murmur, a chronic eye disease, dental disease, skin issues — and on top of all that, he is FIV positive.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a very misunderstood virus. It was once thought to be dangerous, a death sentence for cats. And while it’s true that FIV-positive cats have a weaker immune system than uninfected cats, we now know that they actually share a similar life expectancy and quality of life.
Yet the stigma surrounding the virus remains. “People often associate the virus with high costs of care and a shorter lifespan,” says Erin, one of our Animal Welfare Officers. “But as we’ve seen with lots of other cats who have come through our shelter, with regular vet checks and a lot of TLC, FIV-positive cats can live as fulfilling and happy a life as any other cat.”
Lort Smith works hard to educate people about the realities of FIV. But we also know from experience that seeing the words ‘FIV positive’ on one of our cat’s adoption profiles can still be a major deterrent for a lot of people.
Despite his many medical issues, we knew Chester would make an incredible pet for the right person.
We decided to place Chester in foster care with Lisa and her mother while he recovered from his dental surgery. Since FIV-positive cats tend to take longer to adopt, we thought he would benefit from some time away from the hospital until we could find him the right home. But the moment Lisa brought Chester home, she knew he was there to stay.
“He just slotted in perfectly,” she says. “He’s just the most loving, docile cat I’ve ever met. I’m my mum’s carer and he’s so gentle and so lovely to her. We both bonded immediately with him, and him with us.”
As for the FIV, Lisa says she has no concerns whatsoever and encourages everyone to consider adopting an FIV-positive cat.
“It doesn’t affect him as far as I can tell. He seems comfortable. And I’m not concerned about it, because he won’t ever be around other cats as he’s an indoor cat.”
We couldn’t have asked for a better resolution for Chester. But sadly, there are so many cats who are overlooked every day because of misunderstood health issues.
Consider making a donation to our March Appeal today. Because there will always be animals like Chester who come through our doors needing our help.
Please donate and change the life of animals’ like Chester today.