The healthy animals that come to us in search of new, fur-ever homes are the easy ones. Some have already been spayed or neutered, and a few are even up-to-date on their shots. Then, all that's left for us to do is run a few tests, have a veterinarian look them over, and update their flea and tick medication, and they're ready for adoption. But other furry friends must run the full gauntlet of vaccinations, tests, and spaying and neutering before they make it to the adoption floor. And every once in a while, the tests reveal the presence of an abnormality or disease that is manageable but will never go away.

When Barry came to P.A.W.S., all we saw was a nice, big, healthy cat. But he tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV. We know that cats with FIV can live long, happy lives, and watching Barry steal hearts with his calm, loving nature, we had a feeling it wouldn't be long before someone would take him home. In time, though, we noticed that Barry seemed a little slower then usual. He was drinking more water and using the litter box more frequently. That's when we found out that our gentle giant has a double-diagnosis: not only FIV, but diabetes, too.

We've cared for other diabetic kitties and know that giving them their insulin shots is no big deal. They just need someone who is willing to do this every day and can make arrangements through boarding or family or friends to step up to the task when the owner is away. We've successfully found loving adoptive homes for other diabetic cats, and all concerned lived happily ever after. But Barry is another matter. Not everyone feels comfortable adopting an FIV+ cat to begin with, let alone one that also has diabetes. For him, we're hoping to find a special person — one who either knows how to give insulin or is willing to learn, and who can also provide the kind of environment that an FIV+ cat requires. FIV cannot spread through sharing of toys or food or bowls, and dogs and humans can't "catch" it. The condition can only spread to other cats through deep bite wounds — the kind that sometimes happens when cats fight. Thus, it's imperative that Barry be an indoor cat and that he either be the only feline in the house or that he share the home with cats that are friendly, non-fighting types. Barry himself hasn't a combative bone in his body, so if your kitty is the same, it'll work!

If you can't adopt Barry, perhaps you'd consider sponsoring him (making a donation to offset the cost of his insulin and needles) while he's in our care. Or maybe you'd be willing simply to drop by and visit him every now and then. If you're interested, please call us at 236-8702 or, better yet, come meet Barry at the shelter at 123 John St. in Camden and discuss his needs with us in person. We guarantee you'll be a sucker for his charms.