Pot Roast's FIV diagnosis explained as TikTok mourns its favourite feline

Bruno Cooke February 17, 2022
Pot Roast's FIV diagnosis explained as TikTok mourns its favourite feline

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Pot Roast’s owner, who posts on TikTok as “Pot Roast’s mom”, announced via video upload that one of the internet’s favourite felines had died. Pot Roast suffered from FIV – feline immunodeficiency virus, also known as feline HIV or cat Aids.

TikTok’s favourite cat Pot Roast dies after battle with FIV

“My little bird flew away at 11:47 this morning,” Pot Roast’s owner wrote in a TikTok video yesterday.

“When I saw Pot Roast this morning I could feel she was done fighting and, even though I wasn’t done fighting for her, I let her go.

“She went to sleep in my arms.”

Watch the video below:

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Pot Roast’s owner posts under the username @potroastsmom. She has almost a million followers on the platform, while her videos have garnered 65 million likes in total.

She started posting videos of her cat Pot Roast on New Year’s Eve 2020

What is cat FIV, aka feline Aids?

Feline immunodeficiency virus, or cat FIV, is a lentivirus that affects cats all over the world. 

Different studies suggests different levels of FIV infection, ranging from 2.5 per cent to 44 per cent, according to one, and 11 per cent according to another.

Either way, it’s probably more common than you expect. FIV is closely related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is why people sometimes call FIV “cat HIV” or “cat Aids”.

It works by “killing or damaging cells in a cat’s immune system”, according to WebMD, “often targeting white blood cells”.

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Source: TikTok [potroastsmom]

“The ongoing damage of FIV in cats eventually leads to a weakening of the immune system. Once that happens, cats with FIV can become vulnerable to secondary infections.”

It isn’t necessarily fatal for cats – many cats apparently live relatively healthy lives as carriers and transmitters of the virus.

How long did Pot Roast have FIV?

According to Kansas City news outlet The Pitch, Pot Roast’s owner adopted the cat during her sophomore year of university in 2014. 

The University of Missouri Rolla (now called Missouri University of Science and Technology) was hosting an event on campus to help students relieve stress. It involved puppies and kittens, one of which was Pot Roast.

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“I just saw her and I was like, wow, I feel like she’s my soul sister,” Pot Roast’s owner told the outlet. Ultimately, the shelter let her adopt Pot Roast for just $20 – “because she had many health problems”.

Not only did Pot Roast have FIV, she also had feline herpes and stomatitis. Feline herpes is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in cats and can also lead to upper respiratory disease.

A day before Pot Roast died, her owner told her TikTok followers she had undergone a second blood transfusion and had a “seizure from low blood sugar”.

“They are monitoring her and possibly going to give a third blood transfusion.”

But, ultimately, Pot Roast succumbed. RIP Pot Roast.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.