Shelter Dedicated to Saving FeLV Cats from Needless Euthanasia

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TBog&kitten3 (2)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.

1 thought on “Shelter Dedicated to Saving FeLV Cats from Needless Euthanasia”

  1. Need help find place ment for 6 month old positive kitty
    Healthy, neutered rescued him to place but he tested positive and placement fell through please help him, he s a sweety

  2. Where r u located? I have 2 felv positive cats that are healthy. I would love to take a kitten to prevent euthanization.

  3. We inherited the most darling little 5 lb. barn kitty! Unfortunately she tests positive for FeLV and needs to be brought indoors. We currently have a house cat so unable to take her in. Meanwhile, she is truly the most charming little cat I’ve met – and I’m more of a dog person so take it from me, she wins hearts! Should have been a book store cat, she is so friendly.
    2-3 years old, beautiful calico coat, one yellow and one blue eye.
    Goshen, IN area. I frequently travel between Fort Wayne and South Bend so will deliver if someone’s heart and home is ready for this little kitty.

  4. I am also looking for a home for a SWEET young male cat/ kitten. Showed up 12-22-16 crying @ door, have 3 indoor cats, let him in when weather got TOO COLD. Although we adore him, he is FeLV pos and deserves better than isolation downstairs. I have already begun vet care & won’t abandon him- financially or otherwise. Do you know someone who deserves a GREAT lil guy like him?

  5. Did you take take the kitten? I need a home for a SWEET lil guy, have just begun vet visits, he is FeLV pos. Breaks our hearts, but have 3 other cats so he needs a new home. We’re in MN….

  6. I see many comments on here about very young kittens testing positive for FELV. They should be “at least” 12 weeks old before testing and they should be tested twice within 2-3 week interval. Most kittens and cats tested positive the first time come out negative the next. Please don’t put a young kitten with adult FeLV cats. They will be sure to get it then. Please do your research on this disease and test more than once and not until the kitten is older to get an accurate reading.

  7. I’m in the process of rescuing 4 stray cats from a dangerous area. I got 2 in December but one tested positive & the vet recommended he be euthanized. The other was negative but has to be retested since she was exposed. I cannot get the others unless I have a place for them to go. I’m in southern Indiana but would work to get transported if necessary.

  8. We have A Felv female cat that showed up at our house after the flood. I would love to keep her but we have 11 other healthy cats. She spends time in a room by herself I would love to see her go to a loving home. She is so sweet and active. Took her to the vet I go to. She has her shots and been fixed.

  9. FeLV is NOT a death sentence ! ! ! Also, the chances of an infected cat giving it to vaccinated adult cats is SO slim- we are going to try to integrate the stray, Figaro, into our clan =~D

  10. I live in North Carolina and I have a male 2 year old cat that was diagnosed with felv, we have other cats that did not test positive. They wanted to euthanize him, but I couldn’t let them do that, he’s so healthy! He’s so loving, and I just want him to go to a loving home that will treat him right!

  11. Hi Julie, one of my stray cats I was feeding for years just got diagnosed with FLV positive. I just got done with antibiotics and the poor guy finally back to his normal self. We thought the vet would put him down, but he made it through. Unfortunately he can’t stay in my household, I have 5 healthy kitties inside and poor guy is in the crate in my garage. Please help me find him a home. I am in Atlanta, GA, but willing to drive anywhere in GA.

  12. Last week I learned that animal control was going to begin trapping and euthanizing a colony of cats from a farm. The property owner is in a nursing home and his daughter signed over all the cats to animal control. I took five if the cats to try to place. I found rescue for four including a super friendly tortie girl who is one if the most affectionate cats ever. Tonight she tested positive for FELV. I won’t be able to place her in the rescur now since they operate a storefront adoption center in a mall. I have a large number of rescued cats in my house. I need to find a safe place for this sweet girl. She us spayed and vaccinated.

  13. I am in Augusta, GA. We have a beautiful stray Yellow Kitty (male, neutered) that we took to the vet yesterday so we could get him tested and begin the process of integrating him into our home with our two other cats. Unfortunately, he tested positive for FELV. We are devastated. Although the vet recommended euthanasia we brought him back home. He is living on our back deck where we feed him and go outside often to pet him. He is EXTREMELY loving and will stand at our back door and meow and want to come inside, which is of course not possible for us with our two other cats who are not infected. The vet thinks he is probably between one and two years old. He deserves a loving indoor home. Anyone near Augusta, GA that might be interested – I can send pictures and am certainly willing to bring him to you.

  14. I rescued a Siamese mix kitten Mothers day. He might be 4 1/2 months old now. I took him to the vet today to have him neutered and he was given all his shots. Unfortunately he tested positive for Felv and I was told to take him to BARC shelter to be euthanized! I am crushed! He is so beautiful and playful. Is there a place or someone in Houston, TX that will take him?

    I have 3 adult cats that are negative. They can’t be together! Please help this sweet boy. Thank you, Dena Rea.

  15. I rescued an abandoned tuxedo 1 year old male last week. I was ready to take him as he is very tame and sweet. He tested positive for Felv. We have 2 healthy cats so we have been trying to place him. He’s been living in our bathroom but it breaks our hearts. He’s gotten shots, we’re getting him neutered and trying to give him what he needs while we find a home for him. He presents very healthy. Any interests or suggestions?

  16. I have a thriving rescue kitty who cannot find placement due to FELV + status. He lives in a bathroom and is desperate for companionship.

    I would drive anywhere in the state of California to find him a loving home.

  17. I have a 9mhts old kitten diagnosed with feline leukemia. My landlord is against pets so i cannot keep him any longer. He is neutered and he is sweet and loves to play and being with people. Im looking for a loving home for him! I dont want him to go to no shelter. Im located in Brooklyn, NY.

  18. Hi, Julie.

    I realize this is an older thread, but we’re in Atlanta and just learned that a cat we planned on adopting was FeLV. The vet says shes 1-2 and otherwise healthy. We’d love to rehome her because she is SO sweet. We’d be happy to drive her almost anywhere if we could identify a new home.

    [email protected]

  19. Marybeth, you are correct, this is an older post, but suggest you check out local rescues in your area. There are more these days that will help rehome FeLV cats. And many people choose to keep their FeLV kitties, too, with few issues. Good luck.

  20. Hello! I have a beatiful 2 year old female. Spayed, up to date on vaccines, friendly but Felv+. Looking for a home or shelter that is familiar with Felv+ cats to place her.

  21. Stephanie, please reach out to your local rescues, shelters, and veterinarians. They may be able to help you find someone to help. Good luck.

  22. Hello, I have the most adorable perfect little kitten that is about 4 months old that I need to find a home for. Unfortunately she was diagnosed with feline leukemia a couple of weeks ago. I would love to keep her, but unfortunately I have another older cat and I am afraid that he might catch the virus. She is an adorable calico kitten, she is very well behaved, gets along great with other cats and people, and she is a total cuddle monster. It’s her favorite thing. We are located in Ohio. If anyone knows of a place, or if anyone is interested, please let me know ASAP. Time is of the essence.

  23. I need to find a home for a feline leukemia cat. She was just diagnosed this morning. She is in jeopardy of being euthanized within the next two days. She is incredibly sweet and friendly. She is only a year old and I just cant take her in with my elderly cats.

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