For cats with FeLV positive (feline leukemia) diagnoses, the chances of being euthanized in a shelter setting are extremely high, even if they are living a healthy life at the time. The diagnosis often is an immediate death sentence.
Thankfully, there is a small number of rescue organizations working to change this. The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (MRFRS), in Salisbury, Massachusetts is one of these special shelters, accepting FeLV positive cats and even finding them homes. The staff and volunteers at MRFRS are well aware of the special needs of these sweet kitties and understand that they will have a shorter life.
The FeLV positive cats must be kept separate from the healthy cats and so MRFRS has created a special section just for this purpose.
Two examples of FeLV positive kitties that have been rescued are Chrysler and Plymouth. They arrived at only eight weeks of age and are just full of life and energy and quite a bit of mischief! You will find the two frisky kittens playing, eating and romping around with their older FeLV positive “brothers” and “sisters.”
Through the “Care for Life” program, many of these kitties even get adopted! The innovative program allows those who may be concerned about adopting a FeLV positive cat to rest easy, knowing that the shelter will cover their cat’s veterinary care for life.
Oliver, JoJo, Mischief and Rosie are four FeLV positive cats that were recently adopted through this program. Their mom, Christi, writes,
“We currently own 4 FeLV cats, all adopted from Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society! My husband and I agreed…that they deserved a loving home just as much as any other normal cat/kitten needing a home!! We have had a lot of happy times and nights full of laughter watching their antics.
In our home, there are five children, all with medical needs of their own. Two of our daughters are autistic and one is legally disabled. But our oldest son, who is 11, asked us, ‘Why don’t people want cats like Oliver? There’s nothing wrong with him.’ And you know what? He is absolutely right! There is nothing wrong with these wonderful cats that are so often looked over for ‘healthy’ cats….We will never adopt anything other than FeLV cats…They need us more than most cats because they are so often forgotten or left behind without even a second thought.”
The Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (MRFRS) is a nationally recognized, nonprofit, volunteer driven organization in Salisbury, Massachusetts committed to ensuring the health and welfare of feral and domestic cats and kittens by promoting proactive, compassionate, no-kill programs. They operate a shelter that takes in around 700 cats a year — including FIV+ and FeLV+ cats, and in their 21 years in operation, they have found homes for over 18,000 cats and kittens. They also run two mobile low-cost spay/neuter clinics for cat owners in need of financial assistance, the Catmobiles, which have fixed over 30,000 cats since the program began in 2008. They also conduct monthly feral TNR clinics, provide TNR guidance and trapping assistance, and run a mentoring program for small organizations around the country.