One of the things that can be said about Catsby is that he’s extremely handsome. Named after the central character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1930s novelette The Great Gatsby, Catsby is also kind, calm, generous, dignified, and a true gentleman.
On top of all that, Catsby is Feline Leukemia Positive. This means, among other things, that he’s unlikely ever to get adopted.
Feline leukemia is more a condition than a disease. It doesn’t of itself make the cat sick, but it compromises his immune system, making him very vulnerable to any other kind of illness that might be around. Feline Leukemia Positive cats need care and protection.
It is also extremely communicable to other cats, and a perfectly healthy cat, once contaminated, will succumb to the first – even minor – illness that comes along. You can vaccinate your (FLK negative) cat against feline leukemia, but there’s no cure for those who are born, or become, FLK positive.
When AWARE first opened its doors to the suffering animals of Guatemala in January 2000, there were no testing kits available here. There was no way to know if this adorable kitty we’d just rescued was FLK positive or not, and we had to start arranging for visiting vets to bring in testing kits from abroad.
So you can be a handsome, debonair socialite like Catsby (and his literary namesake), but even then, life is not automatically a bowl of cherries. Catsby’s beginning to look a bit frail nowadays after nearly ten years confined to the FLK+ cat pen – though he hasn’t lost his appetite nor his good humour, it must be said. He’s the oldest surviving FLK+ resident, and now has five FLK+ companions.
If you have no other cats, aren’t in the habit of visiting anyone who does have a cat or cats, and are willing to maintain a watchful eye, a feline leukemia positive cat can make just as good a pet as any other cat. And as we all know: Cats Are Cool!