Cats with these manageable lifelong conditions have so much love to give. PAWS gives them a chance at the happy life they deserve.
In 2018, PAWS formally established a new lifesaving program to rescue and adopt out cats who have Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Prior to that time, FeLV+ and FIV+ cats faced almost certain euthanasia at the city’s animal control shelter, despite the fact that they could have many happy and healthy years ahead of them.
Homeless cats with these conditions have historically been considered “unsavable.” However, the lifesaving progress of the last decade has led progressive animal welfare groups across the country to reexamine what is possible. For FeLV+ and FIV+ cats at PAWS, that means taking a special approach to finding them forever families who understand their special needs and are willing to commit to their care, and providing support to make the journey easier.
While decisively different, FeLV and FIV are both diseases that attack a cat’s immune system and can result in life-threatening complications. However, with careful health monitoring, cats with FeLV and FIV can live normal lives—they just have a shorter life expectancy.
To help these special felines (like Earl, below) find special homes, PAWS’ program waives the adoption fee, provides one-on-one guidance to adopters, and, for FeLV+ cats, offers free end of life services, should the adopter need it.
Our commitment to saving, advocating for, and adopting out FeLV+ and FIV+ cats is an essential part of our larger pursuit to make Philadelphia a place where all healthy and treatable animals can live their best lives.