Monday, March 14, 2011

Caring For Feline Leukemia Cat in Multiple Cat Home

Feline Leukemia Awareness Postage stamp

Caring for a Feline Leukemia cat in a multiple cat home is not an easy task however it is a task that is worth the effort.  Feline Leukemia is a virus called (FeLV) and infected cats spread the virus through saliva, nasal secretions, tears, urine and feces. Feline leukemia is contagious; therefore keep your cats indoors.

Many people will choose euthanasia when they learn that their cat has tested positive for feline leukemia.  They do not want to expose their other cats and they are afraid the FeLV cat will suffer.  

The decision is yours, however if your FeLV cat is in the early stages and do not have symptoms the cat may be able to eliminate the virus by the fourth stage.  Therefore if you want to give your cat a chance to eliminate the virus, then learn how to care for feline leukemia cat in a multiple cat home.

Have all of your cats tested for Feline Leukemia. The ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay) test is a way to determine if your cat has been exposed to the Feline Leukemia virus.  Your veterinarian will perform the test in their office. If the tests are negative then have your cats vaccinated.  

I needed to wait three months before I could have my cats vaccinated because they were exposed to my FeLV cat named Sam.  My veterinarian explained that it would take that long for the cats to show a positive so to be on the safe side I needed to separate my cats in my home. By separating the cats I was providing Sam with a stress free area where he could rest and heal and I was protecting my other cats from being infected.   

Set up Safe Room:
Survey your home to determine if you have a room with door for you feline leukemia cat.  You will need to set up a safe room for your cat that features toys, bedding, purchase new litter box, food and water bowls and a cat tree would provide hours of activity. 

A room with a window is ideal.  This room will need heat and air conditioning. A home office makes for a good safe room as it allows the cat to interact with people.  

A sun room that has heat and air would also be a good safe room for your cat. If you use a guest bedroom then remove some of the furniture, so there is room for your cat and their needs. Set up the separate living area for your FeLV cat that does not permit any access to your other cats.  

Choose the safe room wisely because this is where your FeLV cat will live while they have the virus or until your veterinarian gives you the okay to reunite the cats.

Use caution before you enter the safe room put your healthy cats in another room and shut the door.  This is a safety measure to protect healthy cats in the event the cat with FeLV gets out when you enter the room. Your cat may be infected with the virus but they still are playful and loving cats and want to run through the house.

Cat Diet 
Continue to feed your healthy cats their food and feed your FeLV cat a high protein food with antioxidants. Sam eats a high-protein diet that is similar to what a wild cat would eat. Blue Buffalo wilderness canned food is high in protein and has no grain fillers.  

The canned food will also aid in keeping cat hydrated. I mix half a can with two tablespoons of water or organic chicken broth and my cat Sam loves it. I also feed Sam hard crunchy kibble to remove the plaque from his teeth. You can also feed your cat a raw diet that is formulated for cats.

  • Wash the food, water bowls with antibacterial dish soap daily.  Provide cat with fresh clean water daily.  Clean litter boxes daily and wash the litter box with antibacterial soap once a week.
  • Remove your shoes before entering the room that houses your FeLV cat. This is a safety measure to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Administer heartworm pills and protect your cats from fleas, ticks, mites. Do this especially if the cat's plays with dogs. Keep your cat up to date with vaccines. Keep cat hydrated.
  • Allow the family dog to visit with the FeLV cat; that is if they get along. 
  • Feline Leukemia virus infects cats only.
  • Install a separate thermostat in your FeLV cat's room. Set the thermostat at 74. The room must have a comfortable temperature at all times. Your FeLV cat cannot be in a draft.
  • Watch for colds, runny eyes, swollen lymph nodes, and or cough. If your cat vomits or has diarrhea call your veterinarian.  If suspect any illness make an appointment for your cat to see your veterinarian.
  • Keep all veterinarian appointments. Your  cat needs to have routine blood tests twice a year. These tests will indicate the progression of the virus.
  • Spay or neuter all cats in the household

Learn More about Feline Leukemia 
Educate yourself by reading as much as you can about the virus feline leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus   This will help you to understand the treatment tips prescribed by your veterinarian and it will enable you to care for your cat.  

Please leave me a comment if you have any questions and I will respond.