Leukemia Kitten


Last night I took an 8 month old kitten who had been living outside his whole life to the vet. He was so friendly and constantly purring, even when a thermometer was jammed up  his butt and then he was poked and prodded and jabbed with a needle. He purred through the whole leukemia test. Leukemia testing can really be a pain. The cat must be held down, the back leg extended and sort of karate chopped at the thigh to get blood. Then you put the needle in their leg, and more often than not, it takes more than one try to get a vein, and to get the vein to give blood. Meanwhile the cat is usually trying to squirm away, making horrible noises, or wiggling around and making quick jerking motions in an attempt to escape this horrible torture we must inflict upon them..Many times it is some ones  job to tap the cat on the head with a pen as a method of distraction. This kind of works.. but not really.

Anyways, while we do leukemia testing at the shelter, since he was already at the vet for a runny nose that turned out to be feline herpes ( not transferable to humans), we figured they might as well test him for leukemia and fiv, feline aids. He came up positive for leukemia. Since we have 3 leukemia positive cats isolated but living out their lives at the shelter, I didn’t realize just what a crappy hand this lovely cat had just been dealt. When I brought him back to the shelter and told my boss, she looked at me and then said, “ I wish you had called me, we would have had him euthanized there”…OH shit. But he is such a nice cat I kept thinking. and so young. apparently also an issue riding against him. He was likely born with it..Leukemia is degenerative and lives in the bone marrow I believe. What a bummer.

So a few days later, I went into the shelter for my cleaning shift, and asked about the leukemia kitten. Unbelievably he had been adopted/permanently fostered by a nice girl who is related to a volunteer. Ha! Amazing! So glad I didn’t call my boss while  at the vet and have him put down. He still has a life he deserves to lead. Hopefully and probably a very happy one until the disease gets him.  And that is the true underlying belief behind  the no kill revolution. Every animal deserves the chance to live out their life, without animal shelters being a reason for them to die prematurely.


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