Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

What is FIV?

FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus. FIV typically causes a weakening of the cat’s immune system. Only cats can get FIV. It does not spread to humans or other pets.

How do cats get it?

FIV is usually transmitted by a deep bite, from an FIV positive cat to another cat. It is extremely rare/maybe impossible for a cat to get FIV from simply being around an FIV positive cat, sharing food bowls, touching or licking. Recent preliminary studies are suggesting it cannot be passed on between cats simply living in same households – only through a deep bite but this is still being researched.

What are the symptoms?

FIV cats have a lowered immune system, so there is a higher chance of them getting infections, and are more prone to gum disease.

Can FIV be treated?

There is no known cure. Most cats will manage quite well, without much issue but it is really important to treat any secondary illness or infections. Some may succumb to the inability to fight off infection after many years but they usually live normal happy lives.

How do I look after a cat with FIV?

  • keep your FIV positive cat inside to limit their exposure to disease and stop the spread
  • feed a good quality diet.
  • maintain parasite control and vaccination against other disease
  • regular vet checks and prompt treatment at the first sign of illness

Can an FIV cat live a long happy life?

Yes an FIV positive cat can live a long and happy normal life. They will need to be monitored for infections and dental disease but if they are looked after and cared for, they can live long and happy lives.

FIV cats can live normal, happy and long lives.
FIV cats can live normal, happy and long lives.

Can you help?

There are times when we have beautiful natured, affectionate, FIV positive cats at the shelter. Each cat we house is tested for FIV, and it is possible that some are not actually carrying the virus, as a vaccinated cat will show a false positive. They are looking for loving homes and, without the kindness of people who will step up to provide a safe and loving home, will spend a lot of time at the shelter – in some cases, their whole lives. We are committed to caring for them. If you would consider giving one of these beautiful animals a loving inside home or would like to speak more about what is needed to look after one of these cats – please contact us on (03) 9824 7928.