Happy February Sonoma! This month brought the charm of Valentine’s Day and for us in the North Bay, buckets of rain to go with our heart shaped candy. I know the dogs here at the shelter are ready for the rain to stop for a bit. Our dedicated group of canine handlers have faithfully been here to help exercise the dogs everyday, rain or shine.

Another treat in February in the Santa Rosa Cat Show happening Feb. 18 and 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds. This is the best cat event ever for feline fans. It is sponsored by Cat Fanciers Association and is open to All Breeds. They also welcome household pets and have a fun costume contest for all. Pets Lifeline receives funding from the organization every year. They invite us, along with other rescues and shelters in the area, to bring adoptable cats to the show and find wonderful forever homes.

We have two cats here that I want to talk about. Sundance and Smudge. These two are the sweetest kitties. Both have been diagnosed with FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) which is unfortunate, but a manageable condition. Many people confuse FIV with feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Although these diseases are in the same retrovirus family and cause many similar secondary conditions FeLV and FIV are very different. Cats who are infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) may not encounter issues for a very long time.

Although the virus is slow-acting, a cat’s immune system is severely weakened once the disease takes hold. This makes the cat susceptible to various secondary infections. Infected cats who receive supportive medical care and are kept in a stress-free, indoor environment can live relatively comfortable lives for years before the disease reaches its chronic stages.

FIV is mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds, the kind that usually occur outdoors during aggressive fights and territorial disputes-the perfect reason to keep your cat inside. Another, less common mode of transmission is from an FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten. FIV does not seem to be commonly spread through sharing food bowls and litter boxes, social grooming, sneezing and other casual modes of contact. Although any feline is susceptible, outdoor free-roaming and intact male cats who fight most frequently contract the disease. Cats who live indoors are the least likely to be infected. No FIV cannot be transmitted from cat to human, only from cat to cat.

Sundance is a big fluffy boy who is a little under 5 years old and Smudge, who is only 11 months and came to us as a kitten, is an adorable short haired love with a big black smudge on his nose hence the name.

I hope to see you at the Cat Show. Until then...peace love and paws.