Rescue Journal

why i decided to take in the americats

Carol  ·  Nov. 14, 2007

not everyone realizes that there is a method to my why did i choose to take in foreign FeLV's?

ok, well honestly first and foremost, when i saw the pahrump cats and read their stories, i just wanted to help. and who could i help the best? well wrecked and sick ones of course. so my very first motive was a soft heart but what followed was pure good old fashioned common sense.

i have wanted an FeLV area since the day i opened saints. i used to do felv's in my previous life and i really missed working with those cats.

but here is the issue with taking in felv's here...some shelters euth them and others pass them on to those who take them in. so you take them in, here and there as they come to you and there is a problem with this.

every single felv affected cat has a crappy immune system. and every single new one that comes in brings in new virus's, strains, and bacteria for the existing cats to deal with.

it has taken me alot of time and thought to figure out one simple fact. that felv cats will not live as long or as healthy if they are constantly exposed to new bugs.

so i wanted an existing colony of cats who had already shared all of their germs, and i wanted a dozen because that was the space that i was able to provide. and i wanted to give them every chance to live as long and as well as they could.

our americats fit my perfect wish list. an existing and well established group that is big enough to make good use of the space but not too many to make it overcrowded. and that room is closed to any new cats, it is not fair to risk any possible detrimental exposure to the ones who are now in our care. who knows maybe one day i will open a new feleuk room, if the time, resources, and space are there.

and i am quite interested to see how well they do if they are just supported holistically (meaning the whole individual cat, and the whole as an entire group) and given the best shot we can. maybe it won't make a difference, but then maybe it will.

so the plan is almost an experiment. we provide them a good and loving stress-free home (and the option for adoption if it presents.) but we focus on supporting their wellness with natural supplements and good diet and we medically treat any symptoms. and we keep their immune systems from having to deal with outside assaults and we wait and see how they do. it is the feline version of "boy in a bubble" only multiplied by 12.

if they do as well as i hope, then this opens another door. if felv cats can be kept healthy and happy with a reasonable quality life with just some bits of extra care, then why should they routinely be euth'd if they happen to positive test.

alot of people are afraid of is a deadly feline disease. and currently the expected lifespan upon showing symptoms, is less than two years. but what if it's deadliness can be minimized or held at bay for a longer and healthier time?...that has to be a good thing for these cats.

i think i am lucky that i can feel with my heart and still think with my head (altho both sometimes get in my way) and i happen to really like a challenge, which is good cuz i am personally challenged in many varied ways. i am glad i saw the story and i am glad i made the offer and i am glad i have the chance for the first time ever for me, to really do the best i can do for cats affected with felv.

but mostly i am glad because i really like these particular cats...every single one of them is now a cherished saint.



ahh yes...the worries of the human kind...these cats pay a very high price for our misunderstanding of this disease. the americats will be very good teachers.
thank you for helping them there, you folks gave them the chance to make it to here.
all of them say thank you to you!


I was one of the 12 cats caretakers in Pahrump. I am new to cat rescue and have found it rewarding and heartbreaking. I noticed that many of the other volunteers were afraid to go in the FELV Building. I asked one of the Best Friends staff if I could catch any bugs from the cats in that building and the answer was "NO".
I went in there and met cats like Rock, Albus and Misfit. I absolutely fell for the Ameri-cats and many more like them. Some of the others have been recently taken by the disease and that has been hard. But when I see pictures of the SAINTS FELV room and realize that my 12 friends are being absolutely spoiled rotten by your wonderful organization I am stoked. Thank you....


i am not much of an angel (too opinionated and i smoke) but i am a displaced american with canadian immigration status so do borders get somewhat blurred with me.


Thanks to you, they are now saints, but you are an Angel! (Capital A).


Hillevi Dodson


I am sorry that you are getting flack for taking in the Americats. What you posted makes a lot of sense and I wish that people - all people - would look at the cats without looking at borders.

These cats have been through hell - they really have!!! They deserve a fantastic home with a fantastic human to give them the love they have been starved of for so long. No animal should have to go through what the 726 cats were put through in Pahrump. The conditions were more than deplorable and not all of the cats survived. Many of the people friendly cats were so starved for affection that they would climb up your body - even bad attention is attention - it would take at least one other person to peel the cat off of you.

I could go on and on with first hand accounts of these cats but I would rather that your readers check out the Best Friends web site at

Search for the Nye County Cat Rescue or the Great Kitty Rescue. The stories of the Pussycat Lounge are also related.

Thank you for having an open mind without borders - I wish there were more people like you, Carol.