Living with Feline Leukemia: Jayden's Story
by Danielle Cookish
Jayden spent nearly three months in Dakin’s care. It was noted right away that he was energetic, social, and loved to greet his visitors and play.
During his medical evaluation, we learned that Jayden is FeLV+. Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is a cat-only virus that shortens their lifespan significantly. Cats with FeLV are generally healthy and free of symptoms until the end of their time with us and deserve a loving family to enjoy all of life’s pleasures with.
Jayden quickly became a staff favorite and enjoyed enrichment sessions (and tasty snacks).
Feline Leukemia is highly contagious to other cats, so Jayden couldn’t be adopted to a home with other cats. This cat-only virus cannot be spread to humans or other non-feline pets. It can be transmitted from cat to cat at any age, through saliva. This includes mutual grooming, bites, shared food dishes, and other close contact. Less commonly, FeLV can be transmitted through a shared litter box. Some kittens are born with FeLV if their mom was positive.
According to the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, the median life expectancy for cats after diagnosis is 2.5 years. If the time of transmission is not known, an estimated life expectancy cannot be determined.
After struggling to find a home, VCA hospitals stepped in and helped Dakin spread the word about Jayden by sharing his adoption profile across many of their local Facebook pages.
Feline Leukemia is a very difficult diagnosis and can be a very emotional time for people caring for a FeLV+ cat, knowing that their time with us is so unfairly limited.
Jayden’s story at Dakin ended the day his new journey began. His hero, Eric, had come to adopt him and bring him into the loving home he so deserved. Adopting a FeLV+ cat can be overwhelming, but allowing these special cats a comfortable place to live and play around familiar family members is the greatest gift you can give.