Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Part 1 of a 3 Part Series on Feline Viruses
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) infects all types of cats from the larger cats (e.g leopards, cougars, lions) to domestic house cats. Most at risk for infection are male non-neutered, outdoor cats that often get into severe fights with other cats. FIV affects the feline immune system, which makes the cat more susceptible to disease. The virus is only contagious to other cats, and is transmitted through saliva and blood (i.e. through deep bite wounds and very rough fighting). More casual contact such as sharing litter boxes or feeding bowls and mutual grooming are NOT methods of transmission of the virus. It is even suggested that it is unlikely for an FIV+ mother to transmit FIV to her kittens. A cat that tests positive for FIV may never develop full-blown FIV and can live a very long and healthy life if kept indoors in a low stress environment, fed high-quality food and have any secondary health issues treated when they arise.
Toronto Cat Rescue happily has had many successful FIV+ cat adoptions! TCR believes these cats deserve a chance at a normal home like any other. Our experienced volunteers (we are not vets) believe that FIV+ cats do not have to be adopted into single-cat homes, or into homes with only FIV+ cats. If you have laid back cats at home there should be no concerns of adding a cat-friendly FIV cat to your family. We charge our standard adoption fee. Don’t judge an FIV+ cat based on a blood test – they are amazing cats who just want to be loved!
Learn more from this excellent resource, educate yourself, so you can educate others – FIV: Catching a Bad Case of Rumours.