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FIV+ Cats

Learn about which myths are untrue and how adopting an FIV+ cat can be a completely normal adoption and the perfect companion for you!

What is FIV?

FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) is a widely misunderstood condition. Many people are unaware that cats with FIV can be just as normal of an adoption as cats without FIV. Many people think that it’s easily spread, makes cats very sick, and that they have a lower life expectancy, so they are not often adopted. Due to commonly being overlooked by potential adopters, make a big difference to FIV+ cats by giving them the second chance that they are often not given!

Testing for FIV

Did you know that many shelters no longer test for FIV? Rates of FIV+ cats are so low - and cats with FIV often live full lives showing no signs of illness due to the virus, that the cost of performing tests is not seen necessary by all. This means you could be adopting a cat with FIV from some organizations and not even know it!

Did you know that kittens can show a false positive? Infected mother cats transfer FIV antibodies to nursing kittens, so kittens born to infected mothers may receive positive test results for several months after birth. However, few of these kittens actually are or will become infected. To clarify their infection status, our kittens are re-tested at 6 months old - with a chance for a negative test result as it fights off the antibodies!

Myths that are Untrue

1. My cat that is FIV negative will get FIV from sharing a common living area (food/water/litter). 

Not true! FIV will transfer from one cat to another from vicious bite wounds - something that is very uncommon for domesticated indoor cats, especially if all are spayed/neutered at the appropriate time. To ease your mind, it is always a plus to adopt two kittens that are FIV+!

2. My FIV+ cat will live a much shorter life. 

Cats with FIV can live just as long as a cat without FIV. While they can get sick easier, they are immunocompromised after all, if your cat is kept strictly indoors, kept on a nutritional diet and maintains its routine vet visits, there is no reason why your cat should get sick for no reason! These are all things that you should be doing for your cat anyway - with or without FIV! If they should become ill, they are generally treated earlier, longer, and more aggressively than non-immunocompromised cats (meaning they need to see the vet at the very first sign of illness and may be on a stronger medication or on medication for a longer period of time).

3. I need to worry that I or my dog (or other pet) will get sick. 

WRONG! FIV has 'feline' in the name for a reason - it can only be transferred from cat to cat.

4. My cat being FIV+ means that it has AIDS. 

Most cats with FIV are actually very healthy; they simply have a virus that is very slowly affecting their immune system, but which can take several years before it has any noticeable effect at all. Most FIV+ cats never even get AIDS; they live good lives and die naturally from all the usual causes of death that any cat may suffer, including old age!