View Full Version : My poor little Maisie: FIV positive

11th April 2005, 08:12 PM

Maisie, a little tortie cat, came to me a year ago when Jaspar and I found her cowering in a doorway while out on a walk. She had just been hit by a car and her head was swollen and horrible-looking. My then-new leather jacket still shows the signs of her unhappiness at being picked up and carried to my house to be driven quickly to my vets -- but at least the leather got it, and not me. ;)

Yesterday I noticed (just back from 2 weeks away) that she looked very very thin. Then later today I saw that she had vomited twice, and also was in dstress with what looked like cystitis (which she has had before).

I took her straight to the vet and we found upon weighing her that she'd lost *1/4th* her weight over the past 2 months when she was last in for a booster shot. He suggested testing her for feline HIV, which I was sure had been done as I test all my new rescue cat arrivals for this. But she had not been tested. And tested positive. :cry: Which explains the weight loss, the bad teeth and gums, the recurrent cystitis.

I left her in to be put on a drip and given something to settle her stomach while I consider what to do next. I also wanted to talk first to the wonderful Jan, a Scottish woman who runs Ireland's Kitten Adoption -- http://www.kittenadoption.ie/ (from which I got my black cat Ambrose). And also talk to the vet on tomorrow, Susan, who is one of my favourites and who loves cats in particular.

Having talked to Jan already, I now feel I have some options and know better what to do. I'll go ahead and have her blood tests done if she is looking OK tomorrow and see what needs treating. FIV is like HIV; the sufferer gets recurrent infections that need to be treated. Jan says she can take Maisie in if needed if I move in the coming months, as she already has three FIV cats (they do not spread the condition except through mating or via blood so there's little chance any of my lot would get this from her).

Maisie might have a short time, or a few years. I feel so much better knowing she has a place to go if needed and needn't be given her wings quite yet. And when she goes, she can go with dignity.

Cathy T
11th April 2005, 09:07 PM
Karlin - Sorry to hear about Maisie. At least you have a good resource. That is how we knew our cat, KT, was sick. All of a sudden we realized she looked thinner. Sure enough, turned out she had lymphoma. Sweet little gal hung in there for 18 months after being given a possible 6 week survival. She was comfortable through the whole thing. Once the lymphoma had gotten into her chest cavity we knew it was time to let her go.

Good luck with Maisie.

11th April 2005, 10:45 PM

I, too, am sorry to hear about Maisie. Our animals bring so much joy to our lives, but sorrow also. Fortunately, the joy outweighs the sorrow by a long shot.

11th April 2005, 10:53 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about Maisie. My very special rescue, Elmo was diagnosed FIV positive at 8 yrs of age, it was very difficult to let him go, he was the sweetest cat I'd ever known. :cry:

12th April 2005, 11:05 AM
So sorry to hear about Maisie, Karlin, poor little mite.

I know many rescues have no choice but to PTS FIV positive cats and kittens - there are too many healthy ones who need homes. If you hadn't have kept Maisie, she would have probably been PTS, instead she has had one happy year with you, and will hopefully keep well for some time to come.

Also it must be very reassuring that Jan will take her if necessary - I guess it would be too traumatic to move her, and she probably wouldn't cope with the shots and the travelling.

Sending positive, healing thoughts and prayers for Maisie, that she will have many happy, healthy days yet.

12th April 2005, 07:33 PM
Maisie got her wings.


Quietly, purring as always, curled in my lap this afternoon. Thanks to Tanis at Botanic Vets who gave Maisie this peaceful passing and let me hold her while she left, and sit with her for as long as I wanted, before and after.

As humans the great gift we can give these small friends is to let them depart in gentleness, with dignity, rather than require them to endure in pain.

On A Cat Aging

He blinks upon the hearth-rug
And yawns in deep content,
Accepting all the comforts
That Providence has sent.

Louder he purrs and louder,
In one glad hymn of praise
For all the night's adventures,
For quiet, restful days.

Life will go on forever,
With all that cat can wish;
Warmth, and the glad procession
Of fish and milk and fish.

Only the thought disturbs him -
He's noticed once or twice,
That times are somehow breeding
A nimbler race of mice.

~ Sir Alexander Gray ~

12th April 2005, 08:33 PM
Oh, Karlin,
I am crying as I read your last post. It's so hard to let them go. But please remember that she had such a good year with your animal family....one I am sure she wouldn't have had if you hadn't picked her up that day.
My thoughts are with you and your multi-species "crew".

12th April 2005, 08:46 PM

I too, am crying as I read through the posts. I somehow missed this one earlier. I'm so sorry to hear about Massie. I remember the day you brought her home and in to your life and love.

Thank you for giving her a wonderful year of happiness and love.


12th April 2005, 09:45 PM
She was a sweet and funny cat and I always thought her face looked like a little barn owl. She always purred and head-butted, even when her head was in terrible shape. Tanis, who saw her the day I brought her in after the accident, said to me then that she was incredibly resilient and strong, that most dogs would have given in to the pain she was in and just died. Thus I knew that this time, she would hide her pain and I needed to keep this in mind.

She was so thin, the muscles in her hind legs had deteriorated, and she didn't respond to treatment overnight. She would have needed all her teeth pulled. Tanis seconded what Susan, my other favourite vet, had said: if she were their cat, they would let her go. She would have trouble regaining much less maintaining her weight. Her muscles were not good. She might recover but would fall ill again before long. Even so she stood in her cage when I got to the vet and butted my hand and purred. She curled right into my lap and was happy.

FIV cats can live a long and healthy life and generally are fine with other cats when neutered (so they don't fight or try to mate and potentially pass the virus) but sometimes they get hit by a combination of things that weakens them too much. This seemed to happen swiftly to Maisie, who only a few weeks ago looked slightly underweight but otherwise fine. In retrospect, she had grown very quiet and lethargic.

It was much harder than I thought to say goodbye. My vets are right across from the botanic gardens so I had a long walk and thought about her. It's a profound honour to hold a loved animal as it passes on and it happens surprisingly fast. I don't know if it will make it any easier the next time but I was so glad I made the decision to be there with her and I never doubted it was the right decision at the right time. Thanks for the kind comments.

12th April 2005, 10:54 PM
Oh, karlin. I'm so sorry!!! :cry: What a terrible and sudden discovery! :( And what a difficult decision you had to make. It sounds like you did the best thing for Maisie... :(

My thoughts are with you and your gang. Rory sends puppy kisses for all!

=rory's mom

p.s. I would definitely get your other cats tested. They're not entirely sure how it's transmitted. Likely through bodily fluids, like HIV, but I don't believe they're entirely confident on that.

12th April 2005, 10:56 PM
I'm so sorry Karlin. You truly did give Maisie what was probably the best year of her life. As heart wrenching as it is to stay with them until they go, I have never regretted it. I think it's our duty as their loving human friend to be with them right up to the very end. You did such a kind thing for her.

13th April 2005, 12:40 AM
Thoughts of you in this difficult time. God bless you for giving so many pets a fine life!

Cathy T
13th April 2005, 03:23 AM
So sorry to hear about Maisie. Know that you did the right thing and she had the best year of her life with you!!

Hugs & Kisses Karlin

13th April 2005, 02:29 PM
Tears here too :cry:

So sorry Karlin that you had to let Maisie have her wings - it was very brave of you to let her go.

She had a wonderful year with you, and was obviously an amazing character who will be sadly missed.

She had a beautiful face too.

Hugs for you all.

Don’t cry for me I’m doing fine,
I’m in heaven now with wings that shine,
It makes me sad to see you cry,
but I’ve big fields and flowers up here in the sky,
God gave me all I could ever dream,
It’s a place more beautiful than you have ever seen,
While there on earth I saw your smile,
bringing me peace if just for a while.
Now as I live in eternal bliss,
please just know I send you a kiss,
I loved the time you devoted to me,
but want one last thing, for you to smile for me.

Laurie Moon
13th April 2005, 04:16 PM
Boy oh boy Karlin I know you must be hurting...My thoughts are so with you at this time.....I really hope that your move will be orderly and that soon things will settle... :cry: God Bless.

16th April 2005, 03:11 AM

I am so sorry, you were so kind and loving to Maisie.

You said"As humans the great gift we can give these small friends is to let them depart in gentleness, with dignity, rather than require them to endure in pain."

It is always such a hard decision to make and one we don't take easy. That said, you have given her freedom of pain.

Your memories will be good ones. And the stories that you will tell others will encourage them to embrace the dogs and cats that need the love.

Take care

16th April 2005, 11:46 PM

I just now read this post. I am sooo sorry about Maisie. I stayed with my dog when it was time to let him go. The last thing he knew was my smell and being in my arms. This gave me great comfort. It was so peaceful and Maisie knows the same thing, thanks to you. My thoughts are with you at this time.

2nd May 2005, 09:06 PM
I just read this post now, I'm so sorry to hear about Maise. My cat Maya was given her wings while I held her close. It was so hard, but I wouldn't of had it any other way. At least you know while Maisie was with you she had a great life, you saved her from her initial injury and brought her into a loving, caring home.

6th May 2005, 11:26 AM
Thanks all; it's always hard to say goodby. I set up a little 'bequest' for her for an annual donation to a friend's cat rescue, to help FIV cats in particular. She was a little sweetie.

23rd June 2005, 11:42 AM
Karlin, my thoughts are with you. I have lost several cats over the years & it is completely heartbreaking. At least that little furry angel had a year where she was pampered and loved which is more than she'd have had if you hadn't found her.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

Mary Frye (1932)