Color: DSH Brown/Black Tabby
Age: Born Approx. May 2012
Gender: Neutered Male
On the long weekend of August, 2017, a young woman, who was enjoying a family camp-out at Park Lake, came across this poor fellow hiding in the bushes along a walking path. At first, she wasn't sure if what she saw was even a cat, but when she called out, he came running up to her. Grateful to hear a friendly voice? Absolutely! He was thin and dirty and lonely. So, home he came with her where she immediately advertised him as a 'found cat' and began looking for a group who could help. He had been previously neutered so obviously was cared for at some point in his life. His rescuer was very willing to provide his foster care - exactly the type of rescue situation in which PAW can participate. An appointment was made for a health check-up a couple of weeks later. His weight was low for a cat of his size and so, along with a blood panel, our vet felt we should also snap-test him for FIV and Feline Leukemia. His blood panel was perfectly normal - his snap test was not. He tested negative for FIV but positive for Feline Leukemia. But that's NOT the end of the story! The next day we submitted a blood sample to a lab in Calgary for further testing. Those results were NEGATIVE. To further investigate the discrepant testing, a sample of his blood was sent away to their parent laboratory in Maine. There they re-tested using serum, then plasma (both were negative), but to be sure, they ran a PCR test which can find the actual DNA of a virus. That too was NEGATIVE. Knox does not have feline leukemia!
MORAL OF THE STORY: False positives can happen! If your cat tests positive on an in-clinic snap test, ask your clinic to re-test at a veterinary laboratory using a different testing method other than one that uses 'whole blood'. Some say to wait a couple of months before re-testing but we did not wait.
It took a month to receive definitive word about his health status. During that time, it was necessary for Knox to have easy access to our veterinary clinic and so the decision was made to move him to a member's home in Lethbridge where he was kept in isolation until we were assured of his health status. He didn't mind being isolated. He was bathed and brushed and welcomed all visitors. His kibble bowl was kept full and he was offered as much canned food as he could eat. When he didn't gain weight, yet was eating voraciously, we discovered he has hyperthyroidism. He is now on a medication to treat it. Our vet feels this could be a short term issue as sometimes cats will present with a "sick thyroid" due to malnutrition, parasites and various other challenges a stray cat could have endured. We will re-test his T4's again in December and have two problem teeth extracted as well. His personality, however, is not a work in progress. Knox is very people-friendly, gentle -- and intelligent. He loves to be petted and brushed and to lie closely beside you. Friendly cats don't just happen - they learn how to be social by interacting with humans. Although he is frightened if someone raises their voice - he immediately thinks he's in the dog-house. It's a mystery how he ended up in the situation he was in - but we have to suspect abandonment as he was well advertised when found and had no identification. He is making good progress integrating with the other foster cats, although it's the three younger ones that cause him the most grief. Maybe it's because they are quick and more unpredictable than his other older feline roommates?
UPDATE: On February 13, 2018, Knox is finally going to have his teeth attended to. It's been postponed several times due to his stubbornly high T4 numbers due to hyperthyroidism. But the most recent re-test showed his numbers have come down to a point where it is now safe for him to undergo anaesthetic. Otherwise, he is doing well. His weight has increased by a kilogram and, as a result, has filled out nicely (no more bony spine!). His need to constantly eat has slowed, another sign that his thyroid is stabilizing.
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