Cats with special needs have more difficult time with adoption. Read about FIV+ and FeLV+ conditions below to learn more about the illnesses. It may just change your mind on adopting a cat with special needs.
What is FIV?
FIV is a feline immunodeficiency virus that causes a weakening of a cat’s immune system. FIV is in the HIV virus class, but it is not transmittable to humans, dogs, or other animals.
How do cats catch FIV?
FIV most commonly spreads through deep bite wounds from an infected cat to a non-infected cat. FIV can also be spread through blood contact, in utero, and through the milk of an infected mother cat. It is rare for FIV to spread through sharing food bowls, saliva, or shared space.
Can FIV be treated?
No. There is no cure for FIV, however taking proper care of your cat and treating secondary illnesses that strike due to the cat’s weakened immune system can help to keep an FIV+ cat healthy.
How long to cats with FIV live?
Cats with FIV can live equally as long as non-infected cats. Their weakened immune system makes them more susceptible to secondary illnesses such as upper respiratory infections, ringworm, and dental disease. Proper care and monitoring can mostly prevent these illnesses.
Can FIV+ and FIV- cats live together?
Yes, FIV+ and FIV- cats can live together as long as they do not fight. FIV typically spreads through bite wounds, so if the two cats are fighting it may cause the virus to spread.
What extra costs are associate with FIV+ cats?
Unless the cat becomes infected with a secondary illness there are no anticipated extra costs that come with adopting an FIV+ cat.
Why should I adopt a FIV+ cat?
You should not let FIV hold you back when adopting a cat. If you are looking to adopt and have found the perfect cat, but it has FIV remember they can live just as long and just as healthy lives as non-infected FIV cats. All animals have a risk of not living the full average life span and while FIV can make cats more susceptible to secondary illnesses, it does not automatically decrease quality or length of life. FIV+ cats have a more difficult time being adopted, so if you have taken to an FIV+ cat you will be saving a life that is often overlooked. Many of our FIV+ cats spend their entire lives in foster care, so adopting an FIV+ cat can provide a home to an animal who is truly in need.
FELINE LEUKEMIA (FeLV) FAQ’S
What is Feline Leukemia?
Feline Leukemia is commonly referred to as FeLV. It is a viral infection that affects a cat’s immune system and bone marrow. FeLV is not transmittable to humans, dogs, or other animals.
How do cats catch FeLV?
FeLV spreads among cats through contact and through shared saliva. FeLV is often transmitted through grooming, the sharing of food and water bowls, bites, and other forms of contact. It can also be spread in utero, through the milk of a mother cat, by sharing a litter box, blood transfusions, and contaminated needles. FeLV is unable to live for an extended period of time outside of a cat host so spreading FeLV through human clothing and hands is unlikely.
Can FeLV be treated?
No. There is no treatment for FeLV. Owners of FeLV cats provide supportive care through routine check ups and proper monitoring. Similarly to an infected FIV cat, FeLV+ cats are more prone to secondary illnesses such as anemia or lymphoma.
How long do FeLV cats live?
Felines who test positive for FeLV can remain healthy for a number of months or years until the virus becomes active. If diagnosed as an adult, cats have a chance of living 10-15 years with FeLV. Unfortunately, kittens who becoming infected with FeLV have a shortened lifespan and typically do not live past 2 years of age.
Is there any hope for a cat who tests positive for FeLV?
Yes. FeLV is not a death sentence for all cats who test positive because there is a possibility of virus not becoming active for a number of months or years. Additionally, there is a loophole that some cats and kittens may slip through. FeLV is a fightable virus, and cats and kittens may test positive if the virus is moving through their bloodstream. FeLV moving through the bloodstream does not mean that the cat or kitten is infected. In order to determine if a cat or kitten is infected a second FeLV test will have to be administered.
Can FeLV+ and FeLV- cats live together?
Typically, we do not recommend that FeLV+ cats and FeLV- cats live together. Even if another cat has had the FeLV vaccination, it may still catch the virus.
What extra costs are associated with FeLV+ cats?
Extra costs are primarily associated with treating secondary illnesses that become present due to FeLV. It is not possible to provide an estimate, but closely monitoring an FeLV+ cat can help reduce additional costs.
Why should I adopt a FeLV+ cat?
FeLV is not always a death sentence for cats or kittens. Felines who are diagnosed may remain healthy for a number of months or years, and these months or years can be filled with joy and love! If you are looking for a cat to join your household as the only cat, adopting an FeLV+ cat will provide a home to a feline who would have or who has had a difficult time finding a home. You would be saving a life and providing a happy home to an animal who really needs it. Many of our FeLV+ cats spend their entire lives in foster care, and they deserve a FURever home for the duration of their lives regardless of how long it may be.