Puff was surrendered by his owner because they became ill and could no longer care for him, said Thomas. He had also been living with two housemates who tested negative for FIV, proof that the disease isn't as big a risk as many people think.
Thomas took Puff in to keep him from being killed, something that's increasingly common because most shelters don't take in FIV felines. Whiskers is a no-kill shelter that does take FIV infected cats, with many of its volunteers owning one themselves, said Hall.
"Our viewpoint is that we do try to find these guys homes and many volunteers have them in their own homes, including myself, mingling with negative cats; there's never been a problem. Most of these cats are very mellow and sweet," said Hall. "The only one I've ever lost died when she was 18 and it had nothing to do with the virus."
Whiskers doesn't conform to the usual practice of shelters turning FIV cats away because it's privately run and doesn't have to account to city or county regulations. Halls said many vets still think FIV-positive cats should be put down so it's important to find Puff a more permanent home to prevent this from happening.
"If a cats has got to have a chronic condition, and we hope no cat does, FIV is the way to go. It's a fairly gentle virus to have; it's not going to kill your cat," said Hall.
Thomas said she urges people who are thinking about adoption to ignore that Puff has FIV and consider what his true value is"to be a loyal and trusted companion.
"Cats are an integral part of a family. They bring a lot of unconditional love. If you come home from a rotten day at work, they're happy to see you and it's comforting. Their presence is always there and unlike humans, they're non-judgmental and love you," said Thomas.
Puff needs a home and Thomas said she encourages anyone who might be interested to reach out to her at 355-4687.