Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FIV Cats

I'm sure that some of you who are reading this know much more about FIV than I do.  But for those of you who don't know much about it, here's a quick lesson.  I'll try to make it painless.

- FIV (Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus) is a slow virus that affects a cat's immune system over a period of years. 


- FIV is a cat-only disease and cannot be spread to humans or other non-felines.


-  FIV cats most often live long, healthy, and relatively normal lives with no symptoms at all.


- 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.


- 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.)


- A neutered cat, in a home, is extremely unlikely to infect other cats, if properly introduced.


- Many vets are not educated about FIV since the virus was only discovered 15 years ago.


- FIV-positive cats should be kept as healthy as possible. Keep them indoors and free from stress, feed them a high-quality diet, and treat any secondary problems as soon as they arise.


FIV Facts courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

As you probably guessed, each of the cats shown above is a cat waiting for a home.  They've each been waiting a long time, because they tested positive for FIV.  The crazy part is in some cases they may not even have FIV.  If they were ever vaccinated against it, they will show as positive for the virus for the rest of their lives.  And even if they do have FIV, they may go their entire life without ever showing symptoms.  FIV positive cats can live long, healthy, happy lives.  So please, if you're considering adopting a cat, consider one of these very worthy FIV cats. 

1 comment:

JulieB said...

Thank you for posting information on this often misunderstood disease! There are so many FIV kitties out there that would make wonderful pets and companions to families if given the chance. Most shelters won't even try to adopt them out and will often euthanize them simply because of their diagnosis. It's a sad fact and a shame because they can usually live long, happy lives - they just require a bit more preventative care than non-FIV cats do. I myself went through a horrible situation in which one of my cats tested positive for FIV. My vet at the time recommended that I euthanize him because he would spread it to my other cats. This, of course, was before I knew anything about the disease and the fact that it can only be spread through a deep bite wound. Luckily, I did not listen to her and I found him a home with my best friend instead. The ironic part is that Sully later tested negative for FIV; the original snap test was faulty and gave us a false positive result. Fortunately, Sully is still living the life with my best friend and 3 other kitties were rescued because of his situation. I hope that it serves as a lesson to other people that FIV cats deserve a happy ending just like all other pets do and to do your homework before you make a rash decision.