FIV Cat Info

FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) in cats is a commonly misunderstood disease. Cats that test positive for FIV can live long, happy lives and even co-exist with other cats in stable households.

Here are some facts about FIV:

    • FIV is species- specific meaning it only infects cats.
    • FIV attacks the immune system leaving cats vulnerable to secondary infections.
    • Secondary infections include: Upper respiratory infections, dental/gingiva disease, ringworm, etc. FIV makes it difficult for the cats immune system to fight off these infections.
    • FIV its self does not make cats ill. Since FIV can weaken the immune system it can leave them susceptible to secondary infections.
    • FIV is primarily transmitted though deep bite wounds. It is EXTREMELY unlikely for the virus to transmit to another cat just from living with a FIV+ cat.
    • The virus does not spread from sharing bowls, litter boxes, or by touch. The FIV virus is very unstable when outside the body so can only live for a few hours in most environments.
    • Cats that are FIV+ may live with other cats that test negative for FIV with minimal risk of transmission as long as they have stable co-existing relationships with no risk of fighting.
    • Kittens born to FIV+ mothers may test positive because the antibodies the mother produces pass to them in utero or from ingesting her milk. This does NOT mean the kitten is infected with FIV. Kittens should be retested at six months of age as it can take up to six months for these antibodies to leave the kittens system. Most kittens will test negative as FIV infections rarely pass from an infected mother to her kittens.
    • There is no cure for FIV, carefully monitoring your cats health and well-being is extremely important to diagnose and treat secondary infections quickly.
    • Cats diagnosed with FIV can live long, normal, and happy lives just like any other cat. Keeping them healthy by feeding good quality food, making sure they are strictly indoor only, and keeping up on vaccinations and vet visits is the best way to prevent secondary infections.
    • All cats with in the rescue are tested for FIV via the SNAP test during intake.
    • FIV is a completely different virus then FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)

Read this article from Tufts University!

Save a life! Adopt a FIV+ Cat