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 -- (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.