Henry Ford came to Home for Life® as a kitten from the Winona Humane Society. Home for Life®, as a care for life sanctuary, takes in very few kittens but does often respond to requests from shelters for help with kittens who are leukemia positive.
Leukemia is a contagious virus in cats which can shorten their lifespan and cause other health complications. Many adoption programs are challenged to find cats adoptive homes who are positive for leukemia despite the cats being in good health. The virus is contagious among cats, spreading through close, persistent contact that occurs over a long period of time such as among cats who share food dishes, litter boxes etc Read more about Home for Life's® philosophy of caring for feline leukemia positive cats: http://homeforlifesanctuary.blogspot.com/search/label/Feline%20Leukemia.
Although most cats who are positive for feline leukemia will not have long lives, early demise is not universal, and at Home for Life®, we have had several cats who are positive for the virus who have lived in good health with no symptoms for 7 years and more. Home for Life® does not believe in euthanizing cats who may be positive for feline leukemia but who are otherwise in good health and asymptomatic for the disease. Our motto for our feline leukemia cats is " life maybe short but it's wide." We strive to give them a great life no matter how long or short it may be.
Henry Ford came in with two other kittens from the Winona Humane Society, a brother and sister duo Jax and Jitterbug. All had tested positive for leukemia as kittens. Generally, kittens who test positive will not reach their second birthday. Unfortunately this was true for Jitterbug, the female, a beautiful torbie and white girl with a terrific, fun loving spirit, and she passed away due to complications from feline leukemia when only just over a year old. However her brother Jax, an energetic buff tiger cat, lives on at the sanctuary, now age two, as does his friend Henry Ford. Henry has been diagnosed with a grade 4 heart murmur and an ultrasound a few months ago revealed he had cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle although only two years old.
Despite this heart defect, usually caused in cats due to a birth defect, taurine deficiency (Henry was a stray before being rescued by the Winona Humane Society), Henry continues to compensate for this diagnosis with no apparent impact on the quality of his life. With his soft silky fur, a pristine white coat set off by striking deep blue (grey) markings on his ears, nose and tail and a very distinctive musical meow, Henry Ford is a stand out among our cats in the cattery dedicated to our feline leukemia positive residents. No matter what the future may bring, Henry Ford touches our hearts with his optimism and sweetness and inspires any who meets him with his determination to make the most of every day of his life, not matter how long that may be.