the truth about FeLV cats.
To say the last 72 hours have been a roller coaster ride of emotions would be an understatement. After having a fantastic weekend celebrating my brother’s wedding, we spent Sunday night in the ER with our cat Cheese. He is rebounding well and I’ll explain it all in an upcoming post. Today, I wanted to talk about my time in Seattle with my husband. While we were there, we went to Neko, a cat cafe that catered to a specific cat: FeLV positive ones.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is an incurable and infectious disease affecting 2-3% of the entire cat population. The virus has also been linked to other complications such as cancer, anemia, and immune suppression. The suppression of the immune system allows for a secondary infection to take place. The disease is generally spread through saliva, usually through a bite. It can also be spread through contaminated food and toys, and from mother to offspring.
Due to its contagious nature, most cats who enter the shelter system with FeLV are euthanized. It’s a sad fate for these cats who, on average, live 2.5 years after diagnosis. While special care and attention are necessary, FeLV positive cats can go on to live a few happy years.
Walking into Neko, I had no idea it only had FeLV positive cats. Caitlin, the owner of Neko, came up with the idea while living in Japan for two years. She loved the cat cafe scene and knew she wanted to open one in her hometown of Seattle when she returned. The decision to make it a cat cafe that solely featured FeLV positive kitties was because of the need for it.
Neko partners with Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) which gets cats from all over the state and country that test positive for FeLV. Most recently, Coconut came to them from Hawaii. This Tortie girl would have been euthanized had it not been for Neko willing to take her.
One of my favorite parts about Neko is the educational aspect. People coming in off the streets to grab a beer and play with cats might have no idea what FeLV is. Or perhaps they’re well aware but have steered clear of FeLV positive cats previously. Whatever the case, Neko quickly transforms the public perception of the disease. You don’t see sickly, sad cats, you see happy, normal kitties wanting to play and nap.
While it’s recommended that FeLV cats be the only cat in a household, they can live perfectly well with dogs, bunnies, and other species. The disease only affects cats. To that end, Neko has had more than 30 adoptions since they opened last fall. That’s 30 cats that wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise.
I truly believe that every rescue organization is unique. Each has their own niche where they greatly improve the lives of animals. Neko’s mission to find homes for one of the most vulnerable species has been one of the most inspiring I’ve seen. If you’re ever in the Seattle area, definitely check out Neko. And while you’re there, be sure to try the Black Raven Kitty Cat Blues Catnip infused beer. I did and it was perfection.
Coconut – I spent most of my time hanging out with sleepy coconut. She had just arrived from Hawaii and her Jet Lag was so real. She was all snuggled up and it was so hard not to scoop her up and love on her. Coconut is a tiny 3-year-old girl patiently waiting to spend forever with a happy family. For more information on Coconut, click here.
Seattle was hot, then cold, then rainy, then sunny. Layers were key. I wore my ruffled white blouse, ripped jeans, and a jacket. For all the walking, I was only wearing sneakers all weekend. Shop similar look below!