Living with Feline Leukemia

We have had an interesting week centered around a Feline Leukemia flare up in Johnny.

How We Knew Something Was Wrong

On Saturday, June 15th, Johnny started to eat much less (about 5% of what she usually eats). Over the next few days, she would sometimes come to me for food but when I would give it to her, she would start to smell it and then turn away as if the smell of it made her feel sick.

She drank a lot of water over the weekend but then would vomit up white frothy stuff.    I also noticed on Monday that her chin was wet as if she had been drooling.

She continued to eat very little and began to have very liquid diarrhea with blood and mucous (sorry, but that is life with a Feline Leukemia (FeLV) positive cat).    This is not the first time we have seen fresh blood after she has gone to the bathroom but she had been eating fine and active and playful until Saturday so we had not felt a need for a vet appointment specifically for that.

Johnnie Larkin from Foster Mama Kittys suggested she might have a urinary tract infection (UTI) and I have noticed her licking her vulva more than usual so I thought Johnny might be onto something. 

Her coat condition was also not as fluffy and soft and she was much more seeking of attention (comfort and reassurance rather than play type) than usual.  She also growled at me and bit Jamey at one point which is unusual behavior for her.

Why Did It Take Until Tuesday Afternoon To Get Her To The Vet

In a nutshell, Jamey lost his job on February 2nd and our car permanently bit the dust (transmission) on March 2nd of this year, so we have not been able to get a new car.  We use the local wheelchair accessible van to get to places like our medical appointment but they would not transport us to the vet with Johnny, even in a carrier.

So we had to make an appointment to have them bring Jamey to the local rental car place and rent a car in order to get Johnny to the vet.   That took a couple of days to set up.

We almost didn't make the appointment as when Jamey got to the local Enterprise rental car location, they didn't have a car for us because the one they had planned for us came back damaged.   They had to drive Jamey out to Fort Polk, about 30 miles away, to pick up another one.   While this was happening, the time for the vet appointment was getting closer and closer.

Jamey made it home with the rental car about 20 minutes before we had to leave for the vet.  At which point, Johnny (who I often tell Jamey "is too smart for my own good") somehow knew something was up even though I had purposely not taken out the cat carrier in advance.  (Sometimes I could almost swear that the cats can read my mind ...)

She promptly disappeared under the bed.   The challenge of getting her out from under the bed meant that by the time we got out to the rental car with her, we were due at the vet in five minutes.   Well the rental car was a hatchback, not even remotely close to what we had requested, and terrible for getting the wheelchairs into. 

Jamey managed to get our wheelchairs in while I sat in the car with Johnny's carrier on my lap, trying to keep her calm.  Unfortunately, struggling to get both wheelchairs in took so much out of Jamey that he fell as he was using his crutches to get to the driver's side door.  Thankfully someone in the apartment complex office saw him and came out to help him get back up and onto his crutches again as there is no way I could have done so.

Needless to say, neither of us were in much better shape than Johnny by the time we got to the vet.  Jamey ended up staying in the car and I went in with Johnny.

Result Of Vet Appointment

The vet said it is uncommon for spayed female cats to get a UTI and after examining Johnny, who was running a fever and clearly not feeling well, she believed she was having another flare-up of her FeLV.    Johnny had different symptoms in January but the vet also said she was having a flare-up of her FeLV then and we just need to expect her to have these from time to time as there is no cure for it.  We just need to treat the symptoms when she has a flare-up.

Given her symptoms, I asked for her to be given fluids, steroids and antibiotics.  The vet agreed with my suggestions and did so.

I am happy to say that Johnny is back to eating again and seems more comfortable.   She did have a lot of diarrhea yesterday but I suspect that was the antibiotic.    Since we have two FeLV positive cats, I am used to having to do a lot of Clorox laundry anyway.

(Above is just a very short video of Johnny and Night having a snack, something that made us so happy to see after Johnny having almost no appetite for several days.)

The important thing is Johnny has recovered from her latest FeLV flare-up and is a comfortable happy cat again.    That makes it worth all we had to do to get her to the vet.

We are hoping it will be a long while before she has another one.

Johnny napping on her chair after her vet visit
Johnny resting on her chair after her vet visit for her latest
Feline Leukemia flare-up.  It was a stressful day for all but
she is feeling better and that is what matters most right now.

Our Disclaimer

Injured kitten asks for help

I first became aware of the story on Flatbushcats Instagram account when they published two days ago.

After seeing their post of the sick and injured kitten hobbling up to everyone who walked by trying to find help, I had to find out more.

Sarah Zoe, a rescuer in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY stopped to help this kitten when everyone else just walked by.     Sarah's own description of meeting Lady is:

"Ed and I were walking home on Sunday evening when a tiny cat in horrible condition came running up to us. She was hobbling towards every person who passed her by asking for help, and who knows how long she had been doing so. When someone opened the door to any of the buildings near by she would try to go in - it was clear to us that she was dumped or had at least lived inside before since she had an old flea collar on and wanted inside so badly."

Flatbush Cats said "Lady is underweight, dehydrated, has a bloated belly, scabs on her feet and had a horrible ulcer on her nose that needed to be removed."

Sarah and Ed are handling her daily care and vet visits.  All of her vet work is being paid for by Flatbush cats.

Ladybug's story can be followed (in chronological order) at

Ladybug has a good appetite
Ladybug finished her supper.   This amazing kitten
has so much spirit, such a will to live.  Picture taken
by Sarah on June 14, 2019, and used here with her permission.

Sarah is reporting that

"we’re in the $1,000 range for her vet bills now. To donate to Ladybugs vet bills - all donations that go to @flatbushcats cover her vet care. You can find the link through their Instagram page in their bio. You can also Venmo them directly - their handle for Venmo is the same as their Instagram name: @flatbushcats 
@flatbushcats is paying for her vet care with our amazing friends at"

June 19, 2019 update on Ladybug's condition

Ladybug has a mucometra, fluid in her uterus caused by a calcified fetus. Poor girl! She also has nasal polyps which are causing the breathing issue. Both will be dealt with when we get her in for her spay surgery that’s happening ASAP! They will then be doing a biopsy/culture of the facial ulcer wounds and figuring out what exactly those are while she’s getting her spay surgery as well. So we’re almost there as far as answers! 

this is from Sarah's update link above in case you haven't had a time to check it out yourself.

There is also a donate button on the Flatbush Cats website  They are a 501(c)(3) organization so all donations are tax deductible.

Such a courageous and determined kitten, please follow her story on
Sarah's Instagram site as she posts pictures and videos of her daily progress.

Please note that we are not affiliated with Flatbush Cats or Sarah and Ed.  I was just touched by the spirit of this plucky little cat who worked so hard to find help that I wanted to do what we could to spread her story and encourage people to donate to Flatbush Cats via the information above to help pay for her care.

Quirky Quips for Kitten Season

Yet again, we are in kitten season.  The time when all of the cat rescue groups are overloaded with far too many kittens.    This is the time when smaller rescue groups such as Foster Mama Kittys which are funded 100% by donations need extra contributions to get the medical care needed for the kittens (some of which turn up in very bad shape) before they can be placed for adoption, once they are old enough.

5 week old kitten with a fractured tail in my arms at the vet
This 5 week old kitten with a fractured tail was dropped off to
us by the manager of our apartment complex after he was found
up at the pool for our complex.   After a vet visit (shown here)
and some home care, we found an excellent home for him.  They
sent me pictures of the kitten with their daughter for the next year
 to show how much they loved the new addition to their family.
This is definitely one of our Happy Endings Cat Stories. 

One of the purposes of this blog is to help raise money for Foster Mama Kittys as it is a group we truly believe in because we know that not a single person associated with it receives a salary or any type of compensation for their rescue work.  In fact, every foster parent for the group ends up spending their own money to take care of the cats and kittens in their care.  The adoption fees for one cat end up going right back out to pay for the vet care for the  next cat.

To this end, we have created a new store on Teespring called Quirky Quips, as with our original store, We Love Rescue Cats, 10% of the profits of everything we sell is donated by Teespring monthly directly to Foster Mama Kittys. 

The links below go to products that we will earn some profit from, except for the We Support Foster Mama Kittys line as 100% of the profits of every product in our We Support Foster Mama Kittys line goes to Foster Mama Kittys.  A check is sent to them directly by Teespring monthly. 

On all of our other products below, there is a 10% donation made to Foster Mama Kittys by Teespring.

We Support Foster Mama Kittys (100% donation)

We Support Foster Mama Kittys (100% of profits donated)
100% of the profits for the products with this message will be donated by
Teespring directly to Foster Mama Kittys on a monthly basis.  To make it easier
to support this verified cat rescue charity, we have made it available on a variety of
children and adult clothing products, in addition to mugs, tote bags and stickers.

We are continually adding new products with the 10% donation badge to both stores so please check them out when you are looking for gifts.    Some that you might want to consider include

When you have cattitude, size doesn't matter
When you have cattitude, size doesn't matter
When you have cattitude, size doesn't matter so this is available
in both child and adult sizes.  It is also available on a tote bag
for when you want to carry your message around with you.

Do you have someone in your life who loves their coffee and chocolate and enjoys a "relaxed" lifestyle? Then this might be the perfect gift for them.

To Do List for Coffee and Chocolate Lovers

Humorous To Do List for Coffee and Chocolate Lovers
Love Coffee and Chocolate and relaxing?  Show the world with this quirky
coffee stained to do list available on a woman's tshirt and a tote bag.  Want it on
another Teespring product, let us know and we will add it for you.

Do you believe the day doesn't start until you have your coffee, then this might be the coffee mug for you:
Coffee Now!!! Or there will be consequences!

Coffee Now! Or there will be consequences!
Available on other products including t-shirts, tote bag and stickers.

Or is more of an "awww" cat mug the way you want to start your day?

Love is spelled C-A-T

Love is spelled C-A-T
Also available on tshirts, tote bag and die-cut stickers.
Just remember, whatever you do

Do not speak softly, ROAR Loudly!

Do not speak softly, ROAR Loudly!
Also available on tshirts.  If you would like it on another
Teespring product, let us know and we will add it for you.

This is just a sampling of the products we have available in

We Love Rescue Cats

Quirky Quips and⁣

Special Days (for birthdays, holidays and other special days)

10% of the profits for each of our items is donated directly by Teespring to Foster Mama Kittys, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Foster Mama Kittys rescue kitten OJ
OJ and Dottie
This is another Happy Endings Cat Stories. 

OJ is one of the thousands of kittens who has been rescued by Foster Mama Kittys over the years. He was found around 9 weeks old stuck in a garage, alone and apart from his mama. In his foster home, he not only received a bath and food but also lots of love. Dottie, the family dog, loved to mother OJ even after he was bigger than she was.  OJ ended up finding his forever home with a little boy and also a brother cat, both of whom he really loves.

When you buy any of our products, the donations go to support rescue and success stories like OJs for both Foster Mama Kittys and the rescue work that we ourselves personally do. 

At the moment, this is the rescue cat who is next on our list for a vet visit:

Thank you for your support of this much needed animal rescue work.

Our Privacy Disclaimer

Life with Feline Leukemia

When you work with rescue cats, many of them will have Feline Leukemia and some might have FIP.  Some might be blind in one eye or both or have other disabilities.  Almost all of them will have had bad experiences with humans and need a lot of love and patience.

As I have written about in Challenges of a Semi-Tame Cat and Behind The Scenes, my own cat Night was so terrified of humans when I first met her that she would cross the street to watch warily from a distance when I put food out for the other cats.   It has been a very long journey for her but she has learned to be an indoor cat and accept love from me (and take over my pillows every chance she gets).

Night napping on my pillows
Night napping on my pillows

Night and Johnny snuggling on my bed
Night and Johnny snuggling on my bed

Most of the rescue cats we work with, we hold only until we can find new homes for them as we are only allowed to have two pets where we live.  Johnny is the other rescue cat who has found her forever home with us.  As I also wrote about in Behind The Scenes, Johnny was born to a feral mother who was so sick with Feline Leukemia that she could not properly care for her kittens.  Despite everything we could do (including six vet visits and intensive nursing) two of the three died before they were a month old and Johnny almost did.

Johnny survived but she has Feline Leukemia.  So does Night.

What is life like when both of your cats have an incurable disease that you know will shorten their lives?

You keep a lot of disinfectant wipes on hand to clean up the vomit and diarrhea from the floors and window sills, do loads of Clorox laundry to deal with the vomit and diarrhea that gets on the bedding (human and animal - since they spend so much time on our beds) and you watch for things like dehydration and fever.

For example, when I see that Night is being very lethargic, I check her for dehydration.  If a quick skin test* shows me that she is dehydrated, I will bring a bowl of water over to her and use her "magic spot" (it works for water too, not just for food as shown in the "Magic Spot" video below) to get her to drink some water.  I will repeat that as often as needed throughout the day and night until she begins to perk up.   Of course, we also have four bowls of water available for the cats all times.

*Quick dehydration test taught to me by a vet:  gently pull the skin up on the back of her neck and watch to see how fast it goes down.  If the cat is fine, the skin will go back down quickly.  If it does not, then she is dehydrated.   If it is only a little slow in returning, we just encourage her to drink extra water.  If the skin goes down very slowly, then it is time for a vet visit and IV fluids as this is an immediate life threatening situation.

We also try to keep them comfortable temperature wise, even when they don't have a fever.  I use the cats' behavior (especially Night) as a thermometer for when we need to turn the air conditioning on instead of just using the fans. For example, the uncarpeted hallway is one of the coolest places in our apartment.  When Night sprawls out in the middle of it on a Louisiana summer day, her message is loud and clear - it is hot in here.  That is when we shut the windows and turn the air conditioner on because if our fur coat wearing cats are uncomfortable, it is time to cool the apartment down.   We can shed clothing to cool down, they cannot.  So they need us to be attentive and responsive to their situation.

Equally important to all of these other things is to give both of them lots of love and, when they are in the mood for it, find ways to keep them stimulated with different types of play.    We do this not only to make the most of the time we have with them, knowing that neither will have a normal life span, but also because we firmly believe that keeping them as happy as possible will make their immune system stronger and keep them healthier longer.

The benefit of using unconventional cat toys (to supplement all of the "real" cat toys) is that by not using the same things all of the time for them, it helps to keep their interest picqued and stimulate them.

Feline Leukemia affects their coat condition too, so we also do a lot of grooming and petting of them to help with their coat condition (and reduce the incidence of hair balls and show them love).

Proper care of any pet takes time, patience and love but when your pet has a serious illness, you need to be prepared to give more of all of them.    The reward of knowing that you are making your rescue animals life so much better for whatever time they have is worth all of the extra time you spend cleaning up after them and monitoring their condition on a day to day basis.

Our Disclaimer

Free Cat Food and Cat Litter Coupons

We saved over $42.00 during a recent shopping trip.   That came from a variety of sources ranging from paper coupons to electronic ones ( and rebates from Ibotta, etc.   The largest chunk of it came from coupons for free cat litter and cat food.

Fresh Step sent us a coupon for a free 25 pound box of cat litter.   We use a lot of Fresh Step cat litter because they manufacture the best non tracking cat litter we have found - Clean Paws.    Unfortunately, Clean Paws only comes in 22.5 pound boxes and the coupon was for 25 pounds of cat litter, so we had to get a different type.  We are very grateful to have gotten 25 pounds of free cat litter and will mix it in with the Clean Paws.

We prefer the Clean Paws because the cats would track other cat litters around, which we would run over with our wheelchairs and grind into the floor.  Since we have started using a mix of 75% Clean Paws in the litter boxes, we have very little litter tracked around.

We highly recommend Fresh Step Clean Paws to anyone who doesn't want litter tracked throughout their home.    Note it is much heavier than regular litter but not having it tracked around is worth the extra minute or so it takes to dig out the heavy clumps for us.

Every box of Clean Paws comes with a code.   When we finish a box, we go to the Fresh Step web site and enter the code for points.   Every time we get 750 points, we can submit them to get a coupon for a 25 pound box of cat litter for free.     If you choose to sign up for Fresh Step, we would greatly appreciate it if you would use our referral code as this will also gives us more points for cat litter.

The second high value coupon came from Purina.  It was for a free bag of dry Purina One cat food ($7.84 saving).    Our cats eat a lot of Purina cat food.    Each time we finish a bag we log the points in.  They can be saved up and redeemed for various rewards.    Sometimes Purina has special offers such as one for trying Purina One cat food for 28 days to see how it improves your cat's health.  We signed up for that and they sent us a coupon for a free bag of dry cat food.

If your cat eats Purina cat food and you would like to sign up for their offers, please consider using our Purina referral code when you sign up as this will help us get more discounted cat food.

Our Disclaimer


Our We Love Rescue Cats products benefit the rescue cats we personally work with and Foster Mama Kittys.   Near the bottom of this page, yo...