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Special Cats Need Loving Homes
Notts Charity’s Campaign for Cats with FIV

Barry is a good buddy to have – a lovable giant, loyal, friendly and well behaved. He likes his home comforts and will always stick around.

But this huge black and white cat doesn’t stay indoors just through a sense of loyalty – if he didn’t it could be a question of life or death.

Barry is one of a growing number of cats testing FIV or FeLV positive, rescued as strays by the Nottinghamshire animal ambulance charity, the Animal Accident Rescue Unit.

His case is typical – a stray picked up in Nottingham with the battle scars to show that he’s lived on his wits on scraps and handouts, who proves to be a lovable and affectionate pet.

But the charity is finding that an increasingly large number of the cats it rescues are, like Barry and his tabby pal Alfie, infected with FIV or FeLV – the feline equivalents of HIV and Aids.
The problem is once these cats are picked up, what to do with them? AARU will not turn them away but increasingly the charity has nowhere for them to go.

Volunteer Jon Beresford explained: “The viruses these cats carry are highly infectious to other cats, and the animals themselves are extremely vulnerable because they have no immune system.

“Yet cats like Barry and Alfie make fantastic pets and can go on to live normal trouble-free lives for many years – almost as long as a cat without this sort of disease.

“We need people who can offer a loving permanent home to our FIV cats and who can assure us the cats will be house cats and not allowed outside – for their own safety and the safety of other people’s pets. They must not have other cats in the home, to prevent these illnesses being spread.”

AARU’s ambulance service, manned by a dedicated team of volunteer drivers, picked up 85 cats in the past year alone. Many were strays or abandoned pets and a large number were the victims or road traffic accidents.

All the animals rescued by AARU are housed in the foster homes of volunteers, but here too there is a problem for the FIV cats.

“Obviously they cannot be allowed to mix with other pet cats, because even though FIV can’t be passed on by sharing a food bowl or basket, one bite is enough to pass on the condition between cats. However, there is no risk to humans catching this disease,” Jon Beresford explained.

“We are appealing for people to help us by offering a foster home to these special cats so that we can continue to rescue those in need and keep them safe until a permanent home can be found.”

AARU covers the whole of Nottinghamshire – and annually brings in a long list of vulnerable strays, domestic and wild animals and birds hurt in accidents on the region’s roads, plus abandoned or ill-treated pets.

The charity operates an ambulance service for animals and birds, which are then housed in the homes of dedicated volunteers throughout the county and cared for until they can be considered well enough for rehoming. AARU funds the veterinary treatment of the stray animals it rescues.

To rehome an FIV cat, become a volunteer driver or offer assistance with the rescue work, contact Animal Accident Rescue Unit on 0115 9321 555.