Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (or FIV, as it is more commonly known) is a disease that affects cats. We are here to inform you all about what FIV is and how to care for a FIV+ cat. Read below for some frequently asked questions regarding the disease.
What exactly is FIV?
FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and is similar to HIV in humans. Much like HIV, cats can live many healthy years before progressing to AIDS.
How is it transmitted?
FIV is transmitted through deep bites, such as with intense fighting. It cannot be transmitted through sharing bowls, litter boxes, or by grooming each other.
Can I get FIV? What about my other cat?
FIV only affects cats – humans dogs, and other animals are immune. FIV+ cats and FIV- cats CAN co-exist! A recent study at Purdue showed that, barring severe fighting, it is highly unlikely your other cat will acquire the virus.
How do I care for a FIV+ cat?
Much of the care involved is the same as you would care for a FIV- cat. Regular veterinary exams, vaccines, and good parasite control are all still important. The difference in caring for a FIV+ cat is:
- Absolutely no raw foods due to risk of bacteria/parasites
- Should be examined twice yearly instead of once
- Must stay indoors – no wandering
- Antioxidant supplements, immune-stimulating agents may be beneficial
What is the life expectancy of a FIV+ cat?
The average life-span of a FIV+ cat is 5 years; however, this is off-set by the fact that 90% of FIV+ cats are euthanized immediately due to general misunderstanding in the public. A Recent study by IDEXX showed no significant difference in life expectancy between FIV+ and FIV- cats living in a healthy home environment, but there is never a guarantee.
FIV+ cats are often difficult to adopt out due to the misunderstanding. They can live a healthy life full of happiness, please give them a chance and give them a loving home!