Here’s the next installment in our 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 have heard about so many wonderful groups and programs that we’re declaring February to be Fe-Leuk February and running a profile every week this month!
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.
This week we’re talking with Meaghan Colville, shelter director at Ohio Alleycat Resource and Spay/Neuter Clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio.
We really hadn’t adopted any FeLV+ cats out before. We mostly sent [them] to rescue or to volunteers’ homes for long-term foster. We get about 5 to 10 FeLV+ cats a year from a TNR program we have with SPCA Cincinnati, our local open-admission shelter. We adopted over 750 non-FeLV cats in total in 2018.
Yes, in our new FeLV program, we are offering to cover the cost of care related to the virus and end-of-life care.
First, it gives these cats a chance at life. In most shelters around the country, FeLV+ [cats] are euthanized or sit endlessly in cages waiting for ‘something” (rescue, sanctuary, etc.) to happen. With an FeLV+ specific adoption program, we are actively promoting these cats for adoption. and at our shelter, they get to live in a free-roaming room just like our other cats do. In addition and equally as important, we are debunking myths, fighting stigmas and educating staff, volunteers and the public about a very misunderstood virus that has cost cats their lives in the past. I also think it’s a feel-good program. Our staff and volunteers have really embraced it and I feel it is a great reminder of the amazing work we’re doing. Our current FeLV+ cat, Sherlock. is the sweetest cat and it’s so rewarding to see him thriving in an adoption setting.
Misinformation and stigmas. Many people are scared of these cats and won’t even go in the room with them, let alone adopt them. So far, it’s also been tough to find adopters. These are often short-term adoptions and not everyone is excited to take on a cat who may not be around in a few years. I really admire cities like Austin where they have been able to create a community of people who are dedicated to adopting FeLV+ cats. I can’t imagine that happened overnight though, so as we break down stigmas and educate our community here in Cincinnati, I hope that our community responds the same way as they have in Austin.
For more information about Ohio Alleycat Resource, visit their webpage or their Facebook page. You can also follow them on Instagram under @ohioalleycat and @izzy_ina_tizzy (one of their adoptable cats). You can email them at email@example.com.