in , ,

LOVE!LOVE!

Meet The Handsome Cat With FIV Who Found An Amazing Forever Home In Canada After He Was Rescued From The Streets Of Dubai!

When Jennifer saw a post on Instagram from Jenna of tomcatbelvedere about Leo, a cat with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in Dubai who was desperately in need of a good home, she instantly knew she had to adopt him. “I commented on her post and simply said, ‘I’ll take him. Come live with us buddy,’ ” remembers Jennifer, “and I did.”

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

After all, Jennifer already had Mr. Cat, an FIV+ feline she’d rescued from the streets near her home in Vancouver, Canada, so she was confident she would be able to give Leo the care he needed and deserved. “I fed Mr. Cat for months before trapping him,” explains Jennifer. “He was feral, is FIV+, and was in bad shape. I domesticated him, and now he is an incredible cat. I knew I could do it again, and help a cat in need get back to being a cat.”

former street cat with fiv
Image via @leo_the_sad_tom on Instagram

Like Mr. Cat, Leo was homeless when he was rescued from the streets of Dubai by a kind and compassionate woman. Asma Amer was working at an outdoor market in Dubai when she began feeding several homeless cats and kittens. “In May 2018, I went as usual during my dinner break for feeding and this was the time I came across Leo,” remembers Asma.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @leo_the_sad_tom on Instagram

The tabby cat resembled a lion, which is why Asma dubbed him Leo, but he was anything but fierce and ferocious. Instead, it was obvious from the injuries to his face that he needed someone to help him. However, Asma was unsure if he was homeless or had simply wandered over to the market from a nearby house, so she took a video of the unique feline, planning to ask her friends on social media for their opinions.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Leo The Fighter ❤️ (@leo_the_sad_tom) on

“I couldn’t pick him up as I had to go back to work,” says Asma. “Plus, he was very scared and alert to every move. The look in his eyes and how scared and hungry he was killed me, so I left, but I whispered with tears promising him that I would be back.” That evening, Asma shared the video of Leo on Facebook, and she was bombarded with messages from people who urged her to stay away from the fearful feline.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @leo_the_sad_tom on Instagram

“Animal welfare contacted me asking to give the location, believing that Leo is a hybrid and he belongs to a zoo,” explains Asma. Fortunately, she was also contacted by a rescuer with lots of experience trapping homeless cats who insisted Leo was a domestic feline and offered to help. The following day, Asma returned to the market and found the handsome tabby cat in the exact same spot where she’d left him the day before.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

“At that time I felt deep in my heart that he was waiting only for me and he believed I would come back to help him,” says Asma.The rescuer who’d offered his help took Leo to the vet while Asma worked at the market, and when the man returned from the animal hospital, he told her to put the homeless tabby back on the street. Leo had tested positive for feline immunodeficiency disorder (FIV), a virus that weakens the immune system, making it harder for some cats to fight off illnesses and infections.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

“He said he would die in a maximum of two days and it would be better not to spend money on him and to leave him to die on his own,” remembers Asma. However, Asma refused, deciding instead to use her own money to get the five-year-old feline the care he desperately needed. After all, contrary to popular belief, many cats with FIV can have happy and healthy lives as long as they’re given nutritious food and proactive medical care.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Leo The Fighter ❤️ (@leo_the_sad_tom) on

At the animal hospital, Leo was treated for severe anemia, dehydration, and wounds all over his face, but because the staff at the vet’s office mistakenly believed he was aggressive, he was sedated during checkups and treatments, preventing him from interacting with people during this time.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Leo The Fighter ❤️ (@leo_the_sad_tom) on

After spending a month at the animal hospital, the nervous tabby was adopted by a flight attendant who asked a friend to look after Leo while she was away for a week and a half. “Leo was left alone in a room for about 10 days with few visits from a friend who refused to go back to check on him because he fell sick and she didn’t want to clean his litter box,” says Asma.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

Unable to give Leo the time and attention he needed, the flight attendant returned him to Asma after just three months. “I could no longer see him sad in a vet cage so I opened my heart and home for him,” says Asma. Initially, the frightened feline hid under her bed, refusing to come out, but Asma was determined not to give up on Leo. Fortunately, her persistence eventually paid off.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Leo The Fighter ❤️ (@leo_the_sad_tom) on


“I started sleeping on a mattress next to him and he used to come and sleep under my feet when I fell asleep,” explains Asma. “At that time I knew for sure that he was able to trust humans again but he needed time and love.” However, while she knew Leo could make a great pet, she had difficulty finding someone in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who was willing to adopt him.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

“I wasn’t able to find him a home in UAE as people are more attracted to long-haired fluffy breeds and are scared of cats with any diseases,” says Asma. Thankfully, with the help of Jenna — who has an FIV+ former street cat of her own, Mr. Belvedere — Asma got in touch with Jennifer, and on November 19, 2018, Leo boarded a plane to Seattle, meeting his new family for the first time at the airport.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

Back at Jennifer’s house in Vancouver, it took Leo quite a while to adjust to his new home. In fact, for the first four months, he hid in a bedroom, hissing at Jennifer every time she came near him. Leo, who has a weakened immune system due to FIV, was also very sick during this time, and he was in constant pain because of stomatitis, an inflammation of the mouth and lips that required him to have multiple tooth extractions while he was living in Dubai.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

“The surgeries he had in Dubai were hack jobs that left him in a lot of pain,” explains Jennifer. “As soon as I got him I took him to a specialist who had to clean up the mess that was made in his mouth from previous surgeries. The pain must have been unbearable.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mr Cat, Miss Kitty & Leo (@mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave) on

No longer in constant discomfort, Leo started to come out of his shell, first by venturing downstairs, then learning to communicate with his family by meowing, to finally putting his scent on something and playing with his first toy. Having already gone through a similar process with Mr. Cat, Jennifer believes former street cats develop unusually strong bonds with their rescuers and adopters, seemingly as though these kitties know who is responsible for saving them.

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

“The resilience, love and forgiveness that these animals have towards us is incredible,” says Jennifer. “It’s so rewarding to see them relearn, re-trust, and blossom into a cat who can be happy, calm, purr, and cuddle when all they have known is hunger, cold, or pain. Humans can learn a lot from them.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mr Cat, Miss Kitty & Leo (@mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave) on


Even though Leo has made tremendous strides, it’s been six months since Jennifer adopted him and he still won’t allow her to touch him, but she’s confident that day will eventually come. While a lot of other pet owners would be disheartened, Jennifer chooses to focus on how far this former street cat has come, not how far he has left to go. “Street cats need patience, time, respect, and love,” says Jennifer. “Working with a former street cat you have to respect their boundaries, but also understand how to push them out of their comfort zone so they learn to trust. It’s a fine balance.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mr Cat, Miss Kitty & Leo (@mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave) on

No matter what the future holds for Leo, his outlook is far better thanks to Asma and Jennifer, two very special women who are determined to do everything they can to improve the lives of animals who are often deemed misunderstood and overlooked.  “Leo is a strong fighter who wanted to live,” says Asma. “He and I fought together for his life and I truly believed in him.”

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

Because of Asma, Leo now to gets live out his hard-won days in comfort, meowing for more food after he’s just finished a meal, rolling over to show his mom his fluffy tummy, following Jenifer around the house, and simply enjoying being surrounded by people who love, respect, and appreciate him for the remarkable boy he is today. “Leo is a part of my family.” says Jennifer. “I love him, and I do everything I can to let him be the cat he wants to be. His journey inspires me everyday. He inspires me everyday.”

former street cat with fiv
Image via @mr.cat_and_leo.the.brave on Instagram

If you want to learn more about Leo, you can follow him and his rescuer on Instagram.

What do you think?

1 point
Upvote Downvote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 Cat Window Hammocks Your Kitty Will Love!

cat duvet comforter covers feature

Duvet Covers That Are Purrfect For People Who Love Cats!