Adopter Camilla wrote to us with a heartfelt tribute to her adored rescue cat, Oscar, who she lost to FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). Camilla’s experience has inspired her to spread the word about FIV prevention and to let people know that, with the right lifestyle, an FIV-positive cat can live a happy and long life. Read Camilla’s touching tribute to Oscar.
I remember clearly the first moment I laid eyes on you.
You had the most beautiful face and striking green eyes. There was no question about it, you were meant for us. And we named you Oscar.
I’d prepared a box to place you in for the trip home. But no, you weren’t going to stay quietly sitting in a box! You were able to escape the confinement and jump onto my lap.
You slipped into farm life, and our hearts, easily and completely. The farm was perfect for you.
At times, you would act like a cattle dog, following us around while we rounded up the cattle. And sometimes we would see your little front leg poke out from under the wooden yard rails, waving your paw around, trying your best to tease the cattle hooves.
For a time I was working night shifts, and after my shift you would be waiting for me. I made myself a bed in your sunroom. We would cuddle together, and this is one of my many treasured memories. We would sleep until lunchtime, and often you would lazily look up at me and continue to sleep into the afternoon. Other times, you would get up and follow me around while I completed my farm chores, and my little companion would be by my side or never too far away.
Occasionally, you would join us in bed. With you on my right and Anthony on my left, I would be squashed between the two of you! But this was my family, and I was happy to put up with it.
You would often have hilarious wrestling matches with your toy mouse, which copped a beating over the years, I would often have to sew its eye back on or fix its tail.
The summer brought scorching heat. During this time you would lay outside, lying on the verandah in the intense heat, and I couldn’t understand why.
A few weeks later we came home after an outing to find that your back legs weren’t working properly. You were lying on the bed and obviously in pain. I placed you in the car and took you straight to the vet clinic.
The vet gave you painkillers and you stayed overnight while we waited for the test results. I rang the vet the following day and was told you had arthritis. The vet also wanted to conduct one more test. And that’s when it was confirmed that you had Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
The vet told me you needed to be kept inside from now on, we needed to change your diet, and when you had a cold or were ill you would need to visit him promptly.
Over the next two months you deteriorated. During your last days, Anthony and I would sleep next to you on the floor, because you didn’t have the energy to move. I would stay awake all night so that I wouldn’t waste a single moment of the time we had left together.
On April 28th, 2014, you slipped away. We wrapped your slender body in your favourite blanket, together with your toy mouse, a photo of the three of us, and a rose quartz crystal, and placed you in the earth in the garden you so happily played in, right next to the home you had shared with us.
We loved you so much Oscar, there is now a big hole in our lives. We still find your ginger hairs here and there and sometimes, in a glance, we think we see you at the window or the door, waiting to come in. Then we look again and you are gone.
I miss kissing your forehead and stroking your soft ginger coat. I miss your little nose and the loving looks you gave through those sparkling green eyes.
Please know that you will forever remain in our hearts.
Love from your little family, Camilla and Anthony.
On the first anniversary of Oscar’s death, Camilla and Anthony opened their hearts to another lucky rescue kitten. They named their new arrival Ginge (Oscar’s nickname). Little Ginge has been FIV vaccinated and is following Oscar’s paw prints, soaking up all the love of a safe and happy home.
FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is a viral disease which affects the immune system of domestic cats, leaving the cat vulnerable to infections and disease. It’s a hugely misunderstood disease that affects between 14% and 29% of cats in Australia. Here’s what you need to know about FIV.