What a great experience it has been to work alongside the Troy Police Department in their efforts to bring a cat onto the force. It is a lighthearted, yet powerful, reminder of how important the animals we share our lives with are to us.

One of the most important responsibilities of a police officer is to be a resource to his or her community. There are many aspects to their job with, perhaps, one of the most important being education.

The original Pawfficer Badges was diagnosed with feline leukemia. This is a devastating diagnosis. That said, Pawfficer Badges, like any good police officer, can fulfill her duties by educating people about this disease.

Badges originally screened negative for feline leukemia. She was a very young kitten and, due to her size and weight, needed to be placed into foster care before being sworn in. After gaining weight we tested Badges again for feline leukemia prior to her scheduled sterilization. She tested positive. A second test is always recommended after an initial negative test, as there is an incubation period following an exposure to FeLV in which a cat will test negative. The second test is essential to find these cats, as often it is unknown if there was an exposure to FeLV, as was the case with Pawfficer Badges.

While Badges is not the right cat for the Troy Police Department, the Michigan Humane Society is still here for her. It will do everything in its power to be sure she lives out her life in the right home.

We are proud to announce that a successor for Badges has been selected and will be sworn in today at a press conference at the Troy Police Department. No one is happier about this than young Badges.

So then let’s take a moment and talk about what feline leukemia is.

Feline leukemia virus, or FeLV, is a contagious, viral disease of cats. It causes leukemia to develop in cats. It has also been associated with other types of ailments. These include cancer, anemia, and immune suppression. Each condition leads to an increased susceptibility to other diseases. FeLV has been associated with:

  • certain types of cancer
  • anemia
  • ocular disease
  • hematological disorders
  • chronic inflammatory conditions
  • immune suppression that leads to an increased susceptibility to other diseases.

There is no cure for FeLV and it is ultimately fatal for those cats that have the progressive disease.

The virus can be shed in:

  • saliva
  • nasal secretions
  • urine
  • feces
  • the milk of infected cats.

Transfer of the virus between cats may occur from a bite wound, during mutual grooming, and through the shared use of litter boxes and feeding dishes. Transmission can also take place between an infected mother cat and her kittens, either before they are born or while they are nursing. A FeLV-positive cat should live in a home where it is the only cat and be isolated from others.

If you would like to learn more about FeLV there are many sources of reliable information. Below are a few examples:

https://www.sheltermedicine.com/library/resources/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search%5Bslug%5D=feline-leukemia-virus-felv

https://www2.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-leukemia-virus

https://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/PracticeGuidelines/RetrovirusGLS-Summary.pdf

At the Michigan Humane Society we consider each life entrusted to us to have a story. Badges’s story, while only just beginning, is a powerful one. She is exemplifying the work of a police officer by giving us the chance to educate the public and therefore creating a safer, healthier community.

Thank you, Badges!

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