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East Bay SPCA Home
The East Bay SPCA saves 
     and improves the lives of cats and dogs and connects
     people and pets in our community.











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Welcome to Shelter Life at the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

We began as the Oakland SPCA in 1874. Today, the East Bay SPCA includes two animal shelters and three clinics in our community.

This is our day.

Monday, July 03, 2006

We wish them both a long and healthy life.

We do not place cats up for adoption that test positive for FIV (feline AIDS). When we get a positive test, we do the test again (to ensure that it wasn't user error or something wrong with the test). If it comes up positive again, we have a new person run the test a third time. If it is still positive, we conclude the cat tests positive for FIV. We do not place these cats up for adoption because there are so many FIV negative cats dying in our community that we feel we can save more cats by adopting those without this problem. We wish we had the space, time, and resources for these cats, but we simply don't.

We made an exception for Pierre who was Katrina transplant. Pierre came to us in a group of cats that we took in after the hurricane. He tested positive for FIV, but since we agreed to keep him for a set period of time (to allow time for the owners to get settled and find him), we had to keep him for many months in case his owner showed up and reclaimed him. When that didn't happen and he was not symptomatic, we decided to let him stay with us since he was such a special cat and had been through so much already. He was in Oakland and then went to Tri Valley.

On June 8th, we got a cat returned by the name of Brian. He tested positive (on all three tests) for FIV and management started the unadoptable paperwork (the paperwork we do before we euthanize an animal to ensure all t's have been crossed and all i's have been dotted) with him. Since he was a return, we had to hold for 4 days in case the owner wanted to reclaim him. During that time, I got to thinking, "Hey, we have an FIV+ cat in TV that is all alone (we can't mingle FIV- cats with him) and he might enjoy a buddy." We wouldn't have to hold another space for Brian so essentially he wouldn't be taking up extra space that could be given to a negative cat. Brian is a super sweet, attractive, otherwise highly adoptable cat. We decided to give him and Pierre a chance to get along. Brian went out to TV and although they didn't snuggle together immediately, they did seem to enjoy eachother.

So the up side is that Pierre had a buddy and we didn't need to euthanize Brian.

The downside was that we then had two FIV+ cats and these cats take a long time to get adopted (which is part of the reason we don't take them in normally.) The other downside was that this exception might have confused employees and volunteers who may think that it was now ok to keep all FIV+ cats. That was not the case and this was a very big exception to let Brian stay with us. I couldn't say at the time if it was the right decision, but I was comfortable with the decision when I made it. I told employees that if either cat started showing symptoms of FIV, we would have to re-evaluate the situation. Also, if they started to fight, Brian would not be able to stay and we would not move him to his own habitat or cage.

So...was this a good decision? I'll answer that with the statement that both cats were adopted together this weekend thanks to the great staff at the Tri Valley SPCA (specifically AD). Pierre came from New Orleans and was with us for 9 months. Brian came back from a failed adoption and was with us for one month. Both are now, finally, home. We are grateful to their adopters who saw past their FIV label and got to know the cats for who they are. We wish them both a long and healthy life.

And don't they make a handsome pair! Yay for exceptions, yay for happy placements, and yay for new found brothers who would've been lonesome otherwise.


I hope Pierrre went home with all of his head and neck wear and he shares them with Brian when the weather turns cool again. Congratulations, guys!


Pierre went home with his hats (except for two that AD kept), his favorite string toy, and a bunch of goodies. Thanks to some wonderful donors we have extra toys and cat blankets to give away.


Wow, that is just the coolest! Kudos to all concerned!


Aw. I'm feeling a little weepy right now. That is such good news!


We've adopted out a number of FIV+ cats in the past year or two. We don't find that it's a significant impediment to adoption, once people are properly educated about it and pointed toward a vet that is up on the most current knowledge about FIV. In fact, of two brother cats I took in, one of whom was FIV+ and the other FIV-, both equally wonderful, handsome boys (Yes, they lived together for years, and no, it is not unusual for the disease not to be passed between peacefully co-existing cats - I allowed both cats to mingle with my own FIV- cats with no worry) - the FIV+ boy found his home a month after rescue while the other is still looking 3 months later! Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation about the virus out there. A good article is: http://www.bestfriends.org/theanimals/petcare/cats_fiv.cfm


Yes, it is possible for cats not to pass it back and forth, but we have to tell clients that this is a risk. And although some clients don't mind the possibility of cat that may or may not get sick, many clients do not want to take on that responsibility. As we saw with these cats, some cats with FIV get adopted quickly (Brian) and some take a very long time (Pierre). Because there are still more cats being born than there are homes for them and so many are still dying in shelters right here in our community, in general, we can't risk a long stay for a cat with FIV when we could take in and place tens or hundreds of cats/kittens in his or her space. We wish it weren't so, but that is the situation currently.


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