July 23, 2015

ASPCA Happy Tails: Godzilla Takes New York

When potential adopters meet a cat with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), they are often unsure of its implications. Although FIV is a serious infection, the truth is that many cats will carry the virus for a long time before symptoms appear—and that with proper management and care, an FIV-positive cat can live a long and fulfilling life. So when an FIV-positive cat named Godzilla began his search for a forever home, we knew that the right adopter would be someone willing to look beyond his diagnosis and see the loving pet he could be. Here is Godzilla’s Happy Tail.

Godzilla arrived at the ASPCA this past January after being transferred from a nearby rescue group. During his intake at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the friendly two-year-old tabby received a full physical exam and complete blood work, which is when we learned of his FIV-positive status. Although we cannot be sure of Godzilla’s history, FIV is mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds—the kind that usually occur outdoors during fights and territorial disputes—so it is possible that he had been living on the streets at some point. Another mode of FIV transmission is from an FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten, although this is less common and less likely.

There is no specific antiviral treatment for FIV, but as mentioned, many cats remain asymptomatic for a long period of time. Godzilla appeared to be in that asymptomatic phase, so our primary goal was to place him into a loving home right away to extend his good health and ensure that his needs were met. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Godzilla met Jonathan.

Jonathan had known for a long time that he wanted a companion animal, but February 12 marked his first visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center. “The volunteers at the ASPCA took great care in finding a cat that would suit my needs, and Godzilla was one of those few cats,” he recalls. “The moment we met him, we fell in love!” We filled Jonathan in on Godzilla’s history, but it was clear that the handsome cat had already worked his magic: Jonathan adopted Godzilla that day.

Back at Jonathan’s Brooklyn apartment, Godzilla made it instantly clear that he was the new king of the castle. Jonathan reported, “Contrary to all we’ve heard about cats, Godzilla very quickly and seamlessly adjusted to our home. He started exploring within minutes and became affectionate toward us almost as quickly.”

Additionally, Godzilla’s new home proved to be just what the doctor ordered. In an update a few months later, Jonathan proudly announced that the cat has maintained a near-perfect bill of health. “Godzilla visited the vet recently and he’s very healthy. The vet was especially impressed with the quality of his fur and gums, which are both problem areas for FIV cats,” Jonathan says. Although he has put on a little bit of weight (a side effect of his spoiled new life), he’s now on a diet and Jonathan says he’s doing great!

We are so happy to hear stories like this because they are a reminder of the amazing potential of special-needs pets. Godzilla’s FIV status has no effect on his sweet heart, and we are so happy that he found an adopter who saw what an amazing companion he could be. Congrats to them both!