Adopting an FIV + cat
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR AN INDOOR FELINE COMPANION?
Why not consider adopting an FIV postive cat? Sadly, due to the many misconceptions about this virus the FIV+ cats in adoption centres can find it hard to find new homes.
WHAT IS FIV?
FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus depletes the number of white blood cells which eventually lowers their immune system and therefore their ability to fight infection. However, it is such a slow acting virus many FIV+ cats enjoy a normal life span with no apparent health problems resulting from the virus.
HOW DOES A CAT CATCH THE VIRUS?
The virus is present in the blood, saliva and other body fluids of the infected cat. It cannot survive for long outside the body. The main route for infection is through biting when the virus in the saliva is passed directly into the blood stream of the cat it bites. It can also be passed through mating behaviour (another great reason to get your cat neutered). Once the cat has been infected with the virus it will have it for life.
CAN HUMANS CAT FIV?
No FIV can only be transmitted to other cats, no other species.
WHY ARE FIV CATS HOMED AS "INDOOR ONLY" CATS?
Cats Protection recommends that FIV+ cats are kept indoors and only allowed outside in a cat proofed garden or safe run. This stops the spread of the virus but protects the FIV+ cat from secondary infections which he or she will be more susceptible to due to their lowered immume system. Cats Protection reccommend they should not be allowed direct contact with FIV negative cats.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF FIV?
There is an incubation period of months or even years when your cat may be perfectly healthy before signs of infection show. Many infected cats have years of normal life and may die from something else entirely before their FIV infection causes any problems.
Signs of FIV are varied but usually result from a weakened immune system and therefore a vulnerability to other secondary infections.
CAN MY FIV+ CAT GO INTO A CATTERY?
Most catteries will accept FIV-positive cats if they are not showing other signs of infectious disease – aggressive, close contact is required for the virus to be transmitted. The virus is delicate and easily killed by disinfectants, therefore simple precautions and routine cleaning procedures will prevent transmission of the virus in the normal boarding environment, where cats are housed separately. However, the immune systems of FIV-positive cats may be poor and infections caught while in a cattery could be more serious for them than for a FIV-negative one. If accommodation is available well away from other cats it may reduce the risk of your cat catching a secondary infection.
FIV-positive cats can make fabulous indoor pets and they have plenty to offer to a new owner.
Here are a couple of boys we have rehomed in the past who are FIV and are having a wonderful time living with their new owners as indoor cats.