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My Life as Neville the Japanese Cat – Living with FIV+, Asthma and HCM

My Harsh Beginnings

Hi there cat lover! My name is Neville and I live in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. I was found on a sea wall in Okinawa, Japan, by my American rescuers in 2019. They took me from a feral cat colony and they brought me to the USA.

Mary Beth is my cat Meowmy, and I just refer to my cat Dad as "Cat Dad." The caretaker of the feral colony informed my Dad and Meowmy in 2019 that it was clear I had been "dumped" there.

My Meowmy and cat Dad welcomed me into their spacious home in the USA without hesitation, and I am so grateful for that!

Medical Challenges

When I was adopted, I could barely eat. Thus, I had dropped a lot of weight and the cats of the feral colony didn't welcome me. I had abscesses and other injuries from fights with other fellow cats. My rescuers brought me home and provided me with veterinary care so that my wounds might mend. Despite having some lengthy scars on my body, I consider myself fortunate to have been saved.

My rescuers had me tested and neutered, and they discovered that I had the feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV+. In infected cats, FIV+ attacks the immune system, leaving the cat vulnerable to many other infections. After five months in my foster home, I was healthy enough to travel to the USA with my cat mom and dad.

Apart from having FIV+, my health problems have nothing to do with the FIV. I use an inhaler twice a day for my feline asthma. Due to my chronic rhinitis, I also sneeze, which leads to congestion and frequent nosebleeds. To deal with the congestion, I have regular steam showers. After that, I am happy to get brushed by any human willing to do so.

It was discovered in December 2023 that I had experienced a cardiac murmur that year. I was sent to a veterinarian cardiologist and after an echocardiogram, we were told I had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). I was put on cardiac medicine right away, and I take it every day. 

At this moment, I just take one prescription, a blood thinner, in the hopes of preventing a blood clot that may kill me or paralyze me.  We will receive a prognosis coming June from the cardiologist after I have my second echocardiogram.

This photo shows how my injuries from before I was rescued resulted in a wonky left ear. I think it makes me even more special

Flying from Okinawa to Tokyo to Los Angeles to Washington DC to Charleston

My flying rides were each quite different when I travelled to my new home in Charleston, South Carolina, with my American cat Meowmy and cat Dad. I flew with a human escort from Okinawa to Tokyo, and then from Tokyo to Los Angeles, California. 

From Los Angeles to Washington, DC, and then to Charleston, South Carolina I had to fly alone, without a human caretaker. I was extremely scared but luckily, my Japanese caretakers had allowed me to become quite familiar with my airline carrier in order to prepare for my journeys, and even now, it remains a favorite location for me to sleep. Today, Meowmy has a very comfortable bed placed inside the carrier.

Laid Back

I consider my cat persona to be quite easy going and endearing. I always meet strangers with pleasure so anyone who visits our house is really coming to visit ME and not my humans. 

In addition to entertaining guests, I love taking rides in my red Furrari, which is also my pet stroller, and I'm well-known in the cat community for it. 

I adore my Furrari, but because I won't jump out, it's always a ride with the hood down. When I get to go outside with my cat pawrents, that's the place I want to be the most. I occasionally share pet stroller rides with my foster kitties.

I love a tree in my neighbourhood from which I can view my kingdom. This video demonstrates my ability to drive flawlessly, with the red Furrari.

Foster Kitties

Regarding foster cats and kittens, let me say that I adore them! I love giving them baths, and I'm always really kind and accommodating to their needs. They frequently curl up next to me or sometimes on top of me when I share my numerous pet beds with them. 

In 2020, I had Cat Ginny as a foster kitten. I became close to her and always felt sorry for her when she had to return to the animal shelter for "foster rechecks" or her spay procedure. When she was gone, I would lie in her cat bed and sulk. 

We had a lot of fun playing together, and I gave her lots of cat advice. She is an entertaining feline, and we enjoy playing together every day, eating meals together, and devouring Churu squeeze tube snacks. We also love being office kitties for our Meowmy, who has her workplace at our house. We enjoy listening to Meowmy's discussions with coworkers when she's on the speaker phone at work.

Me in 2020, when Ginny, my sister, was a kitten. Every morning when I would brush my hair, she would try to take over my time

On this day, my younger sister and I got to ride in my red Furrari for the first time

Purrsuing English with Pawssive Knowledge of Japanese 

As my rescuer and the foster home I was placed in after were US military families, I was exposed to purring in English pretty fast while in foster care in Japan. Meowmy and cat Dad had both travelled to Japan for Meowmy's profession, so they both knew a few basic phrases in Japanese when I arrived in America. This is why I can purr in multiple languages.

I have appeared in several publications. This was in one of my city's local magazines, Mount Pleasant Pets. It is published once a year and now remains available online. I also was a featured pet in a hard-bound book, RESCUED.

My Message to Other Feline Enthusiasts 

I love showcasing to the world how incredibly PAWSOME cats can be. Rescue cats can be pretty amazing creatures.

Because the virus is mainly conveyed from the saliva of FIV+ cats to the bloodstream of non-FIV cats, non-aggressive FIV+ cats can coexist peacefully with other non-aggressive cats and not spread the virus. Neuter your pets humans so boys aren’t fighting over territory and mates. 

Finally, I think people must act as the greatest pet pawrents they can be; a good life depends on access to food, clean water, safety, and medical treatment, but above all, love cats!

For more words of feline wisdom, you can follow me on my Instagram account!

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