A cute kitty named Frankie with FIV is a reminder that ” FIV+ cats are “absolutely lovable and adoptable!” says Sharon from Oregon.
‘Frankie is thriving with FIV’. That’s the name of the Facebook page about a cute tabby with a “half milk mustache” who appeared outside an Oregon home in the freezing rain in October 2018. It was after midnight, and Frankie’s soon-to-be forever mom, Sharon, heard the kitty meowing in distress.
“This was the very first picture Mom took of me as a stray.”
Seeing the kitty left out in the cold, Sharon decided to take her in overnight, with no pets of her own to protest. The poor kitty was sneezing and had a runny eye, so Sharon took her to the vet the next day. Until then, she believed Frankie was a boy and called her Frank after his Dad’s nickname.
“All bundled up on a chilly day 😸”
“Until or unless I can find his owner, I’ll call him Frank–my dad’s nickname,” Sharon said.
Frankie Tests Positive for FIV
The vet discovered that the 9-month-old kitty was a pregnant female, so she became Frankie. She had no microchip and was suffering from an upper respiratory infection. Afterward, Sharon decided to surrender her to a shelter, but when she was there, she learned Frankie was FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) positive. As such, the shelter would not take her since they didn’t have room to spare.
Well, Sharon would not leave her, but the diagnosis was discouraging. She expected it meant that Frankie would be very expensive to care for. However, this is a prevalent misconception about FIV+ cats.
After speaking with a friend, Sharon researched and learned that FIV isn’t so scary. More than likely, Frankie would be a healthy cat who wouldn’t need expensive veterinary care. Later in life, as with most cats, her health could decline.
Meanwhile, she and Frankie bonded, and Sharon thought the kitty was “absolutely precious.”
“Her half milk moustache just adds to her wonderful personality!” she said on Facebook.
According to Frankie on FB, the feeling was mutual. At that point, Sharon decided to continue looking for Frankie’s former caretakers, but if nobody turned up in 30 days, the cat would be joining the family.
Sharon Adopts Frankie
On November 7, 2018, Sharon adopted Frankie and celebrated the occasion, giving the kitty toys and tuna. At ten months old, the vet informed Sharon that if Frankie gave birth, it could likely trigger serious stress-related illness.
“Mom thought about my health and about all the homeless kittens already in the world. She decided that since giving birth was still about 4 weeks away, she would have the vet abort my kittens and have me spayed, vaccinated and microchipped at the same time. Mom cried while telling me she wanted the best for me, and that she loved me,” Frankie explains.
After treatment, Frankie recovered fast and has had overall good health since and is now four years old. She does have pica, an inclination to chew on non-food items like styrofoam and string. So, Sharon keeps those items out of reach. One time, Frankie ate styrofoam, but she passed it naturally after a trip to the ER.
FIV+ Cats Make Fantastic Companions
After four years of life with Frankie, Sharon registered her with the FIV+ Cats Project. The database holds the data for thousands of FIV+ cats living ‘normal’ lives. Sharon remains happy she decided to take Frankie into her home that freezing night.
“She is a true blessing in my life!” Sharon says of Frankie.
When Sharon needs a pal, her “confident and social” kitty is there.
“She is very cuddly and comforting- a perfect emotional support animal for migraines, depression and anxiety. She will sit 6 inches in front of my face and stare at me when she is hungry. Occasionally she will get a little feisty when hungry, nipping at my ankle if I am walking, making me her prey,” Sharon says.
Having her feline companion leads to new adventures, like sled rides and going out for walks in a special stroller.
“I helped comfort Mom through a migraine this weekend…sled rides on pause. We did play with the laser light this evening, now that she is better. Mom: Thank you, Frankie! I appreciate your comfort more than you know! Yes, sled rides are only on pause and will resume asap.”
This cat mom’s experience has been wonderful, and Frankie has been healthy.
“I was expecting greater healthcare expenses and, in general, less energy,” Sharon explained. “She has had biannual checkups and annual bloodwork for health maintenance. She has had her teeth cleaned once so far, no extractions. I am careful not to have styrofoam out where she can get hold of it, and I throw away any small strings which might be lying about from clothing. Otherwise, at 4 years old, she is full of energy, curiosity, and love!”
When Frankie appeared at the door, Sharon didn’t know it, but she had received a wonderful package in feline form.
“Mom says I’m her perfect little package!”
You can follow Frankie Thriving with FIV on Facebook.
As our fans know, Marmalade is FIV+ and a cancer survivor who leads a life that inspires thousands of folks daily. Although there is a stigma about FIV, these kitties can have wonderful lives and can’t transmit it to humans. Furthermore, indoor cats have a low risk of transferring it to each other. You can learn more about FIV+ cats here.