It is estimated that about 3% of seemingly healthy cats are actually positive for FIV. Most cats are not tested before they are adopted and most owners have no reason to suspect their cat has this virus. Many, many healthy cats have happy, full lives without anyone knowing they have the virus.
Unfortunately, cats that have tested positive are overlooked by those looking to adopt. Even though they are healthy and active cats, fear prevents folks from giving them a chance.
Sadly, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions that surround Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and the cats that have it. Hopefully by dispelling these myths, we can encourage folks to consider adopting or fostering a FIV+ cat.
3 Myths about FIV
- FIV+ cats are highly contagious and they cannot live in a home with FIV- cats.
- FIV+ cats are doomed to live short and unhealthy lives.
- FIV+ cats aren’t worth the effort, they are just going to spend their entire lives sick.
All three of these statements are absolutely not true. Correct information about FIV and its impact on a cat’s life could put a potential adopter’s fears to rest.
The Truth about FIV
FIV is transferred only by saliva to blood or blood to blood contact.
What that means is sharing a litter box, food bowl, minor scuffles or grooming each other, does not pass FIV from one cat to another. A significant puncture wound or multiple wounds would have to occur for an infected cat to transfer FIV to an uninfected cat. This type of fight is pretty rare–almost unheard of– amongst spay/neutered cats living in a home or kennel environment.
Many FIV+ cats live long long healthy lives.
Often, owners only discover their cat has FIV late in life when the cat has developed a secondary infection. Many live 17, 18, 19 years before there is any indication of an immune system compromise. Because most shelters don’t test for FIV and unless a cat has symptoms of the secondary infections, most people don’t think to test their cats. That means, many FIV cats live long healthy lives amongst non-FIV cats mates.
Keeping FIV+ cats healthy is quite easy.
The way to insure a healthy FIV+ cat stays healthy is to provide routine vet check ups, feed them a quality, premium food and quickly seek medical care if symptoms of infection or illness occur. So, if your FIV+ cat remains indoors, eats well and is well cared for… your cat and its immune system will stay strong for a very long time. Just like an FIV- cat!
All cats deserve a chance to live full, happy lives.
Cats thrive with the love and companionship that a home provides them. Because FIV does not necessarily mean a short and illness filled life, these cats would benefit from a home environment just like FIV- cats. And we know their adopters would benefit from the love of a special cat or two!
Our FIV+ Cats
At Lange Foundation’s Halfway Home Kennel, we have a spacious area dedicated entirely to our FIV+ cats. They receive the same loving care we give every one of our animals. Come and meet some of our FIV positive cats. All are loving, wonderful, and silly little felines waiting for you take them home!