1. The Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus is a slow virus that affects a cat's immune system over a period of years.
2. FIV is a cat-only disease and cannot be spread to humans or other non-felines.
3. FIV cats most often live long, healthy, and relatively normal lives with no symptoms at all.
4. FIV is not easily passed between cats. It cannot be spread casually - like in litter boxes, water and food bowls, or when snuggling and playing. It is rarely spread from a mother to her kittens.
5. The virus can be spread through blood transfusions, badly infected gums, or serious, penetrating bite wounds. (Bite wounds of this kind are extremely rare, except in free-roaming, unneutered tomcats.)
6. A neutered cat, in a home, is extremely unlikely to infect other cats, if properly introduced.
7. Many vets are not educated about FIV since the virus was only discovered 15 years ago.
8. Despite what many people think, cats with this condition can live perfectly long, happy, healthy lives.
A letter from one of our adopters, on FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)
To Purrs and Whiskers:
Thank you so much for caring for Monty till we found each other.
He is the most lovable and playful cat I have ever had. I feel very lucky to have Monty since he tested FIV Positive (FIV+). I know that many shelters, etc will not keep an FIV+ cat and that many people are afraid to adopt them.
I would like to urge those considering adoption of an FIV cat to not let that factor stop them. FIV is not transmittable to humans and with otherwise good health and care, the cat can live a wonderful, long life.
My last cat was FIV+, and he was 16 yrs. old when he died, a ripe old age for any cat. I have had FIV+ cats with non-FIV cats together living in my home and FIV did not spread between them.
There are two things I would like to pass on to a prospective FIV cat owner:
Pick your veterinarian wisely. Opinion on FIV among vets varies. Make sure you have a vet who is comfortable treating FIV cats and has current knowledge. I had to change vets twice within the same animal hospital, and again after I moved, twice. Call the office and tell them you have an FIV cat and see what the response is. You’ll know when you hear it whether the veterinarian is right for you.
Second, is not to let any health issue go untreated for any length of time. FIV causes a weakened immune system. So, in my opinion, getting treatment early is a key to long life for the FIV cats.
So once again, thank you Ms. Mona and Purrs and Whiskers for caring for Monty. He is a lover. He enriches my life in a truly wonderful way.
If anyone would like to email me about owning an FIV cat, please feel free to send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and put FIV adoption in the subject line, so I don’t delete it as junk mail!
Very truly yours,
Carol Timko and Monty (aka Poufy)