The Truth About Feline FIV

Aug 15, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Pets

by Robert Paul Hudson

Robert is a fellow pet blogger. We found each other through a site called Blogpaws and I asked him to share a guest post with us.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a greatly misunderstood disease, and for years has been an unnecessary death sentence at veterinarians’ offices, and at shelters.

FIV is a lentivirus, the same class of virus as HIV. FIV, which can live in many different tissues in cats, causes a weakening of the cat’s immune system. One of the tissues in which FIV lives is the salivary glands, so the most common way of infection is a deep bite wound from an FIV-positive cat to another cat. This typically happens with outdoor cats, strays, and ferals that encounter an infected tom cat or other infected cat. It can also be transmitted via blood, in utero, and from milk from an infected mother cat. black cat

An FIV-positive cat has a compromised immune system, which means it is more prone to infections and has a harder time fighting them off. The cat shows no signs of the disease and otherwise has a normal, healthy life. The disease is usually discovered when the cat develops a serious infection.

There is no proven cure or treatment. If you have a cat that has been diagnosed with FIV, it would be best to keep the cat indoors and away from ongoing stress. The cat can eat, play, explore, and live normally, just like any other cat.

If you are thinking of adopting an FIV-positive cat, consider the following:

If you have other cats in the household, think about how you will acclimate them together. Keep the new cat isolated in a room, and slowly introduce the other cats to its scent by leaving the room door open. If the FIV-positive cat is continually bullied or chased, it may not be a good match.CAT #1

If the cat was a stray or semi-feral, there could be other issues not related to the disease, such as litter box avoidance, spraying/marking and other behavioral issues. These issues may often be rectified if you have the willingness to put in the time and effort.

FIV-positive cats can live normal lives both in quality and longevity. All they require is a little extra attention in monitoring their health to look for early signs of infections, the most common being dental disease.

FIV is not a disease to be feared. It can be easily managed, and easily prevented by keeping your cats indoors.
For more information on FIV, listen to the Pet Radio podcast:

Check out more pet stories and articles in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to an animal rescue.

Robert Hudson is the host, producer, and creator of, a weekly podcast and blog.An avid pet lover, Robert shares his passion in celebrating the human animal bond.


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