Here’s the next installment in our ongoing series on Feline Leukemia (FeLV) adoption programs around the country. The series shares different groups’ answers to our questions about their FeLV+ adoption programs.
We hope you enjoy and are inspired by this series, and if you have a suggestion for an organization we should consider profiling, please shoot me an email.
For this profile, we’re talking with Sarah Klawiter, President & Shelter Manager at Crash’s Landing & Big Sid’s Sanctuary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
We’ve been rescuing cats in West Michigan since October 2002. In the spring of 2004, we took in a cat named Big Sid who tested positive for FIV and FeLV. There was no other shelter in our area that accepted FIV or FeLV positive cats, so we decided to open up a second location that focused on these cats.
In 2018 we adopted out 110 cats, 10 of which had FeLV.
When they come in, all of our cats are spayed/neutered, receive two rounds of vaccinations, two FIV/FeLV tests, fecal tests, a complete blood workup, are treated for fleas, microchipped, and if needed get a dental cleaning. We were founded by an amazing veterinarian, Dr. Jen Denyes, who will happily continue to see our cats as patients, but the cost of future veterinary care is the responsibility of the adopter.
In a lot of cases, if we didn’t take these cats they would be euthanized at other shelters for no reason other than they test positive for FeLV. Our cats are so happy and in most cases very healthy. When you walk into our shelter you would have no idea they have this virus. It is just devastating to think of these cats losing their lives over something that they have no control over.
Sadly, we do sometimes lose FeLV cats. Whether we have them for a few months or many years, it is never easy to say goodbye. As hard as it can be though, having an FeLV program is so worth the challenges.