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---"I want to add my praise for WiggleLegs Frog toy.  My cat loves to play with WiggleLegs No other toy will do.  When I ask her to find WiggleLegs she goes right to it!  I just ordered 3 more as I'm afraid you will stop making them and then I don't know what we will do!"

---"Once again, you have provided excellent service with an excellent product. Thanks for the extra - it was a hit! My cats are totally addicted to the WiggleLegs Frog, so please keep plenty in stock!"

---"I just wanted to let you know that my cat, Molly, is absolutely addicted to your FlyToys. I literally have to hide them from her so she will go to sleep at night, but as soon as morning arrives she is sitting right in front of their hiding place waiting for them to come out and play."

Each MetPet FlyToy is handmade by skilled artisans with great attention to detail.  They come in the form of bugs, amphibians, mammals and more in three very reasonable price points.

---"I can't believe how your company understands cats so well"

Feline Retrovirus Infections

Retroviruses in cats Staff Writer

Feline Leukemia     (FeLV)
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus   (FIV)

FeLV and FIV are both caused by retroviruses that are similar to, but not the same as, the virus that causes human AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).  There is no indication that cats can spread this disease to people or be infected by the human version.  These viruses are species-specific.   They can, however, transmit it to other cats.   
Both viruses depress the immune system opening the door to secondary infections and diseases.  The most common contagious infection is upper-respiratory.  The most common non contagious disease is cancer.  An individual cat can contract both FeLV and FIV. 

Contracting   FeLV is spread through close and prolonged cat-to-cat contact through bodily fluids (saliva, blood, urine and feces).  Mother cats can give it to their kittens when they are pregnant or when they are nursing.  Companion cats can spread it through shared food and water dishes and through mutual grooming.  FeLV can be spread when there are many cats in close quarters such as multiple cat households and catteries.  It is not transmitted through humans and is not airborne.

FIV is spread when an infected cat bites another cat.   This can happen when cats fight so unneutered male cats that are allowed outside have the highest risk of infection.

Progression and Symptoms   FeLV can be caused by one of several types of viruses which have slightly different symptoms.   There are recognizable stages that are similar:
(1) infection of the tissues of the mouth.  
(2) the virus spreads to the blood
(3) the virus infects to the lymph glands. 
(4) the virus infects the bone marrow. 
(5) the infection spreads further into the blood
(6) the virus infects the tear glands, salivary glands and bladder.  The cat is now infectious and can spread the virus to other cats. 

In the early stages, common symptoms include weight loss, dehydration and fever.  Other symptoms can include kidney problems, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, cystitis (urinary tract infection), etc.  The symptoms are wide ranging and can also include skin diseases, nerve damage and cancerous growths.  

FIV also has a wide ranging group of symptoms.  Since the immune system is depressed, upper respiratory infections can become chronic.  The mouth can become inflamed there can be loss of weight due to chronic diarrhea, fevers, enlargement of the lymph glands, chronic abscesses and cystitis (urinary tract infection).   Younger, healthier cats can live for years with the disease in remission. 

Vaccination   There is a vaccine for FeLV although it may not be 100% effective.  There are indications that some cats can develop tumors at the vaccination site although such incidences are rare.  Your personal veterinarian will be able to discuss the pros and cons of vaccinating individual animals.  There is a school of thought that cats can be bolstered by giving vaccinations to infected cats.  However, this is controversial since some vaccines are weakened forms of the live virus and the cat already has a weakened immune system.  

FeLV Vaccination schedule (check with your veterinarian for specifics)
First vaccination:  10 weeks
Second vaccination: 12 and 24 weeks depending on the type of vaccine
Repeat at approximately 1 year intervals depending on the type of vaccine

Fel-O-Vax® from Wyeth is the first vaccine for FIV
FIV Vaccination (check with your veterinarian for specifics)
Test to determine whether your cat has FIV, first shot
Second vaccination: 2 weeks later
Third vaccination: 2 weeks after that
Repeat every year

Treatment    There is no cure for either FeLV or FIV.  Some cats can live long and healthy lives while others contract diseases immediately.  Blood tests can show the presence of both viruses.   Your veterinarian should always be notified if your cat has been infected since this could affect his administration of vaccines and other treatments. 

An infected cat should be kept away from uninfected cats and, therefore, must be kept indoors.  A healthy, balanced and nutritious diet and good general care is the best way to maintain your cat's health for as long as possible.   Minimizing stress and change is also helpful.

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