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Theodore is a robust orange tiger, a neutered tomcat with a round face and the physique of a feline linebacker. A gentle giant, Theodore was a stray, eking out an existence in Rochester, Minnesota when he was taken in by a nurse who worked at the Mayo Clinic.

Theodore was living outside and was stray but could not be described as "feral" as he was friendly to people and was relieved and more than happy to accept the help of the kind nurse and delighted to move inside to her porch where he could rely on regular meals and a warm, dry bed. When the nurse took him to the vet for a check up and to be neutered, Theodore was found to be FIV+. Although a cat can live in good health for many years even if positive for FIV+, Theodore's adoption prospects were immediately circumscribed by his diagnosis. Mature cats are difficult enough to adopt out but one with a contagious disease, even if slow acting and not readily capable of being transmitted, find minimal opportunities. The nurse loved Theodore but could not take him into her home either as she had other non-infected cats. She couldn't turn him back outside in good conscience knowing he had a contagious virus and could infect other cats potentially. She reached out to Home for Life to help Theodore - she had taken him in and nurtured him back to good health, and didn't want to forsake him after he had come so far. She read about Home for Life's philosophy regarding FIV cats, and believed he could have a good life at the sanctuary.

Arriving at Home for Life in the late fall / winter of 2011, Theodore seemed content to observe the change of seasons from safely inside the cattery, and truly seemed relieved to be where he was warm and comfortable. We worried he might chafe at being indoors after his life as a free roaming tom cat but on the contrary, Theodore spent much of the winter content to remain indoors making friends with the HFL staff and his fellow cats in the FIV cattery. He is the largest of our FIV neutered toms, but with his zen-like, gentle demeanor that seems a counterpoint to his imposing size, he is far from intimidating. Like our feline leukemia cats, Theodore and our other FIV cats at Home for Life are living proof that a diagnosis of a contagious feline virus does not mean a death sentence for a cat. Visitors to home for Life who meet Theodore and observe how healthy, handsome and happy he is see first hand that these cats can live a long life in good health despite being positive for FIV.

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