Legolas our FIV+ Boy

First and foremost, be clear that whether it is human or feline AIDS, the disease reduces the cells in the immune system so that when another disease hits the body, (eg. cancer, or pneumonia), it doesn't have the ammunition to fight it. AIDS itself, does not kill.

We always introduced new cats by converting the downstairs 'powder room' into a separate residence for 'newbies'. The bottom of the wire mesh door also had a couple of plywood inserts to provide a measure of privacy during early days when hackles rose. Normally, cats did not need to be in this enclosure for more than a couple of weeks or so.

Legolas, (in sink at left), is a delight and a terror that entered our home on New Years Eve, 2003, just before midnight, because his owner couldn't handle his behavior. We had all seen Legolas at the Pound. He was the gentlest, most cuddly, and cute feline there. He was so docile when a feral cat next to him spat and scratched that we all though he would be a perfect brother for our neighbour's cat, George, and a perfect pet for a family that was thinking of expanding.

Legolas, (right), shortly after adoption, battling vaccinosis and nutritionally starved.

To start with, George did not like Legolas one bit. Then, when his mistress was trying him out in the great outdoors, he panicked and bit her, deeply. With babies in their future, the neighbours felt they couldn't handle the behavioral problems that were developing, so we were asked if we could help until another home was found for him.As we always do, we tested Legolas for disease when we put him into his segregation room, (above). The results were both upsetting, and also gave us an explanation for eratic behavior on his part. He has FIV, (Feline AIDS).

FIV caused Legolas to be moody, (understatement), and eventually, during the first months, I found myself travelling to the hospital emergency for patchup on the odd occasion. We were about to call it quits when the vet came up with a solution that works for us, in that he is on a buspar type tranquilizer that takes the 'punch' out of his assaults. This neurological problem is not normal with FIV, and most FIV+ cats can live normal lives with the rest of the household.

Legolas, (left), after a few months of Royal Canin Siamese 38, with Moducare as a supplement to enhance his immune system and protect him from germs spread by the other boys who were, at that time, 'supervised' outdoor cats.

And right, he loves his new bed from Costco. Good size for larger cats!

Unfortunately, it turned out that his attack on his owner happened because he had developed neuron misfiring that is unusual in FIV cases. This means he is a danger to himself and to other cats as the 'switch' can be instantaneous, so he continues to need segregation in a multi cat home.

Legolas with a lion cut for summer heat. He develops hair tangles that he does not tolerate having removed, so must go through this every spring. We were very unsure of having this done the first time, however, his glee at the sudden freedom and lower temperature convinced us that he sincerely enjoys the cut.

Legolas being stimulated in his new home: At right, above the squirrel who is paying him a short visit, (checking for food), is a hummingbird feeder that is very popular as the position affords the hummingbirds protection from predators, outside. Above that is a suet feeder which is out of range of the photo. He doesn't pay much attention to the small bushtits and chickadees that visit it, but does get quite excited when the Stellars Jays come for a feed with their bright blue plumage, which is a color cats can see. While he can't see the bright orange on Northern Flickers when they feed their babies who are hanging on the screen in Legolas's window, the birds are noisy enough that he gets a real kick out of chasing them, (nose to the glass). Often he won't want the rest of his exercise time in case they came back so we have to reschedule at a more 'convenient' time for him.

Recently we had to take down the feeder seen behind the squirrel, because a bear frequented it and this frightened Legolas so that he could no longer sleep in that bed at night, (sleeps with Mom, now). The suet feeder you can't see keeps him busy enough, and there is also a bird bath behind the squirrel. I should get a better photo for those looking for ways to entertain indoor cats.

January 11, 2007
This fellow is the most needy boy I have ever met. Whenever I have to go out, even if it is for a short period of time, I can be sure that my bedding has been twisted into knots, or my laundry has been dragged out of the basket, and twisted around and around to make pretty rose shaped lumps on the floor. If it wasn't my dirty laundry, I might take photos of this garden of 'flowers' that greet me to let me know I have been missed.

Never have I seen a cat that loves to cavort in the snow the way he does, too. He has been delightful to watch on the deck in recent days, after the storms let up. Then, of course, he comes in with his fur covered in snow, dripping it all over the hardwood floors. .....and Mom likes to have bare feet in the house!
May 15, 2007

Both Legolas and Thumper, (seen left), were lonely, frightened boys when we took them into our home. Both have taken a couple of years to settle in enough to feel secure, and now, both just want to do what we ask, as long as they can understand, just to fit in and belong. They love to have spurts of showing off and playing through the wire to the point that we sometimes come home to some strange 're-arranging' of rugs, etc., from whatever activity happens when we aren't looking. We always hate to interfere with their play, and if they were the only two cats we had, we would not feel the need to keep them separated.

The door construction is explained here.
The previous session was ended with a comment on how well Thumper and Legolas get along, but I made an erroneous assumption that caused them to be in the same area at the same time, and unfortunately, while no deep bite wounds happened before we got Legolas back in his room, both boys don't trust me now. That wire door is what keeps Legolas alive, and he has just confirmed we have no other choice.