Located on the outskirts of Macclesfield, Windyway Animal Sanctuary began its rescue work in the 1960’s when a small family began to adopt neglected dogs into their own home on Windyway Head Farm. In the past 50 years the sanctuary has grown remarkably; Windyway Trust became an official charity in 2005 and it supports the work done to look after the animals at the sanctuary. Two shops have since been opened in Macclesfield town centre to support the range of animals that now includes dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and horses.
I made the decision to become a volunteer in July 2016 as I have always had a passion for animal welfare and I knew that volunteering in animal care would create new opportunities for me. I now visit once a week and walk the dogs, before cleaning out the cats and kittens at the sanctuary. Since beginning my work at Windyway I have come to know many characters, particularly in both cats and dogs. One whom I have particularly grown to adore is a beautiful cat named Pippin (featured above).
Pippin is a boisterous young cat, who is always willing to play and be fussed over. Sally, Windyway kennel supervisor, allowed me to view his files and told me, “unfortunately we don’t have a lot of information on Pippin. He was abandoned by his previous owners when they moved away and was brought to us when a neighbour managed to catch him.”
Sadly, Pippin has been tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, better known as FIV, which is often a reason for a cat to be cast aside during the adoption process. FIV infects and attacks the white blood cells in the cat’s immune system, meaning that they are more likely to catch the infections and diseases that others cats may fight off easily. The Blue Cross charity states that the disease affects between 2-5% of the UK cat population and it is usually passed on through biting during fights. This does mean that infected cats will need to be kept indoors and away from other cats, however they can still live a long and happy life just as any cat would.
Pippin is not the only FIV positive cat that wants to be adopted from Windyway; Ella, Grover and Sylvie are among the others that have been tested with the disease. Sally is keen to find them all a home and explains, “Sylvie arrived with her sister Stella. Sylvie is FIV positive whereas Stella is negative, which just goes to show how difficult it can be to pass on as they have lived together their entire lives.”
FIV positive doesn’t have to be negative. Cats that suffer with the disease rarely require treatment if they are otherwise healthy, and they equally deserve a warm, loving forever home. The decision to adopt an often overlooked FIV positive cat is one of the best decisions you could make.