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The Truth About FIV+ Cats

FIVpositivecatsCats who test positive for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) are often quickly euthanized or considered unadoptable. The truth is, cats who test positive for FIV generally live long, healthy lives. FIV positive cats can live with those who are negative for the virus. And FIV is not contagious to dogs or humans. FIV positive cats are often misunderstood. Don’t believe everything you hear. Get the facts…

 

If I decide to test my cat for FIV, how old should they be?
False FIV+ test results are typical in kittens under the age of 5 months. Kittens carry internal antibodies from their mothers. FIV tests cannot distinguish between a FIV+ result caused by actual FIV or from the maternal antibody. Kittens under 5 months old should never be tested for FIV because of this.

cats1Do FIV+ Cats Need to be Euthanized?
No! FIV+ cats should not be euthanized. FIV+ cats can live long, healthy lives (just like negative cats). If sterilized, many live into their teens.

American animal shelters/pounds kill 70% of cats/kittens who enter their doors, annually. Generally 100% of FIV+ cats are killed in these same shelters (along with shy, sick, feral, ill, injured, pregnant, senior, black, scared and special needs cats). CLICK HERE TO READ MORE IMPORTANT INFO ON THIS TOPIC!

Should I test a feral/stray cat for FIV?
Feral and stray cats SHOULD be spayed/neutered, however, FIV testing of feral cats in unnecessary. Sterilized FIV+ cats can live long, healthy lives (just like FIV negative cats). FIV can only be transferred through mating and severe bite wounds. Click here for more information on this topic.

Are there any dangers with FIV vaccines?
Yes! There are many dangers with FIV vaccines. If a cat/kitten is given the FIV vaccine- they will always test POSITIVE for FIV in the future (although the vaccine is supposed to “help” prevent it). If your cat becomes lost or finds him/herself at an animal shelter and they are tested for FIV, the test will show positive, resulting in euthanasia. Read more here.

catsscottsmithCan FIV+ cats live with FIV- cats?
Yes! FIV+ and FIV- cats can live together. FIV is transmitted through severe bite wounds and mating. Sterilized cats will not transfer FIV to others. Sharing water bowls, grooming, playing together…it’s all okay! Read more here.

Can FIV+ cats later test negative?
Yes! Many FIV+ cats will later test negative. In addition, any cat/kitten who has been vaccinated “against” FIV will always test (a false) positive. According to Cornell Feline Health, only 1 – 3% of all cats are ever actually infected with FIV. Read more here.

What is the long term outlook for an FIV infected cat?
The long term outlook for an FIV positive cat is good. Sterilized FIV+ cats can live long, happy, healthy lives. FIV+ cats can live well into their teens. FIV+ cats will often test negative at a later date. Keep in mind, with only 1-3% of cats ever actually testing positive for FIV, of that small percentage, many are false positives. False positives can be a result of testing a kitten too young (never test under 5 months of age). In addition, if a cat has ever been vaccinated “against” FIV, they will always test positive for FIV– but there is no way for a veterinarian to know that this is a false positive (without knowing that the cat has indeed been vaccinated for FIV). View additional facts here.

FIVcatIs there a treatment for FIV?
Sterilized FIV+ cats/kittens can live long, healthy lives. While there is no specific treatment for a kitten/cat who tests positive, it is important to know the facts. Cats/kittens should always be sterilized. FIV+ felines can only transmit FIV to other cats through mating and severe bite wounds. Sterilized cats have little to no chance of transmitting FIV to another feline. FIV is not contagious to dogs or humans. Only 1-3% of cats are ever diagnosed with FIV. FIV should not be a death sentence. Many FIV+ cats lives well into their teens.

FIV positive felines will often later test negative. Among the small 1-3% of felines who test positive, many are false positives. Felines who have received an FIV vaccination will always test a (false) positive for FIV. Veterinarians cannot determine when the test is a false positive, only that it shows positive. Kittens under 5 months of age should never be tested for FIV. Kittens carry maternal antibodies from their mothers. FIV tests cannot distinguish between FIV+ result caused by actual FIV or from the maternal antibody. Kittens under 5 months old should never be tested for FIV because of this.

For the few felines who do test positive for FIV (keep in mind, it may be a false positive due to the reasons stated above), should be sterilized. FIV+ cats can live long, quality lives. Sterilized FIV+ cats can live safely with other cats and pets. Sterilized FIV+ cats do not need to be kept separate from other cats. As with any cat, a slow and gentle introduction to the other cats/pets in your home is highly recommended. Read more here.

Should FIV+ cats be vaccinated?
Much has been written and debated about the merits and drawbacks of vaccines in cats. Emerging research has shown that as a whole, cats are being over-vaccinated. Read more or contact the veterinarians at Vitality Science, here.

FIVcHow is FIV transmitted?
FIV is transmitted through severe bite wounds and mating. Sterilized cats will not transfer FIV to others. FIV is not contagious to dogs or humans, either. Sharing water bowls, grooming, playing together…it’s all okay!

Do animal shelters/pounds kill FIV+ cats/kittens?
Yes. Most shelters/pounds do kill FIV+ cats and kittens. According to Alley Cat Allies, American animal shelters/pounds kill 70% of cats/kittens who enter their doors, annually. Generally 100% of FIV+ cats are killed in these same shelters (along with shy, sick, feral, ill, injured, pregnant, senior, black, scared and special needs cats).  Healthy cats have little chance of survival in an animal shelter/pound. Cats who test positive for FIV offer a “quick and easy okay” for shelter employees to continue to kill.

How many cats actually test positive for FIV annually?
It’s important to know that any cat/kitten who has been vaccinated “against” FIV will always test (a false) positive. In addition, kittens under 5 months old will likely test positive (falsely) for FIV (Kittens carry internal antibodies from their mothers. FIV tests cannot distinguish between a FIV+ result caused by actual FIV or from the maternal antibody. Kittens under 5 months old should never be tested for FIV because of this.) According to Cornell Feline Health, only 1 – 3% of all cats ever test positive for FIV.  Read more here.

fivcat1Is FIV contagious?
Humans and dogs cannot contract FIV from a cat. It can be passed to other cats, but only through blood contact. That means a serious bite wound or a mother cat to her kittens. Cats aren”t known to get FIV by sharing a water bowl, toy, or litter box. They also aren”t known to get FIV through normal play or grooming. Many FIV cats live with non-FIV cats with no problems whatsoever.

How long can FIV+ cats live?
FIV+ cats can live long, healthy lives (just like negative cats). Many live into their teens.

I have a sterilized FIV+ cat in my household. Where can I learn additional information on caring for them?
We recommend checking out the FIV Cat Sanctuary. This sanctuary works with FIV+ cat parents, providing emailed information and support as you care for your FIV+ cat/kitten.

What is the difference between FIV and FeLv?
FIV and FeLv are very difference. Click here to learn more.

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