This page: 8 FIV cats all put to sleep on the same day at the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats - why? We ask the questions - what answers?

What we are up against

Lincolnshire Trust for Cats - mystery illness!

Another heartbreaking story involved a rescue centre in Lincolnshire, which, we are told, had cared for a group of up to 25 FIV cats for several years.

Apparently, numbers had been declining until, in 2014, there were just eight remaining FIV cats, at least one of them quite young. In April 2014, according to emails sent by the Trust to a volunteer, all eight cats were put down, all on the same day, because, they said, they had 'awful mouths'.

The volunteer used to visit and groom the FIV gang at the Lincolnshire trust for Cats for several years. She was absolutely heartbroken at what happened, especially as she and her husband had been made aware of the danger a few days before, and had offered to pay for and build new accommodation for them, either at the trust's premises or in their own large private garden. They offered to pay for all veterinary requirements, and take on all eight FIV cats and provide for them themselves for the rest of the cats' lives. The Lincolnshire Trust for Cats declined their offer and, reportedly on their vet's advice, the cats were all put down just days later.

We wrote to the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats saying we had never come across a situation where FIV cats had needed to be put to sleep because of some mouth 'viral' problem, especially not eight on the same day. We asked them if they would tell us what had happened to necessitate such an outcome.

Unfortunately, we were given no further information. Without a proper and more detailed explanation, we cannot imagine what reason there could have been for their destruction.

Our own experience of mouth issues with the FIV cats in our sanctuary has been varied, but we have never known a single case where no treatment could even be tried - let alone eight, on the same day! This was serious.

As part of our mission is to increase the knowledge and understanding of the FIV virus, we were concerned that there may be something here that needed to be examined. So we have contacted the Trust again, in another attempt to get some more information about just what had caused the problem for such an extreme result to be the only answer - The following is an extract of what we have asked them:

Extract from our letter to Lincolnshire Trust for Cats:
"In your reply to our first letter to you, you said: "... the information you have received regarding our FIV colony is inaccurate"
We had said that the cats were "destroyed on the advice of your vets" - Your emails would seem to confirm that. Perhaps you could explain in what way we were inaccurate?

We really need to understand what was wrong with the cats for which no veterinary treatment was available other than pts.

In the Trust's emails it was stated that "The FIVs have a condition which drugs or dental work cannot treat/cure".  The emails also said " ...these things can be viral and therefore may have affected all of them". This is not something we have ever experienced in the nearly twenty years of caring for the FIVs in our sanctuary, so we would really appreciate knowing just what 'this condition' was, and, if it was viral, what virus it was - perhaps your vet could give more details of his diagnosis so we can all learn from this tragic event?

Obviously, as the Trust is a rescue centre, and these cats seem to have been long-term residents, any problem would presumably have been observed from an early stage. Can you tell us how long their condition took to develop, and how it was treated before it reached the final untreatable stage? Did they have dental work prior to the end, or drug treatment, and if so, can your vet say what was used and with what effect? The more detail we can gather, the better we can understand.

We will let everyone know what response we get this time.

Meanwhile, here are some photos of the eight cats who lost their lives that day.

We did get a reply to our letter - not from the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats, but from their solicitor acting on their instructions - not with any further information, but simply threatening us with immediate legal action if we were to publish anything defamatory about the Lincolnshire Trust for Cats!

We replied saying that we had no intention of publishing anything untrue or in any other way defamatory. We sent them a draft of this page as proposed, asking them if there was anything we were saying that they felt was defamatory, and that if there was we would look at changing it.

The only reply we had was another letter from their solicitors saying that their client no longer wanted them to communicate with us!

So, we are no further forward, we still don't have any more explanation as to why they had all the cats put down; so the mystery remains.

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