Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: FIVe Fibs Debunked

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a lentivirus affecting cats worldwide. This means it is a slow-acting virus that weakens the immune system. Many moons ago, when we were not as informed or educated on the virus, the veterinarian would almost instantly suggest euthanatising a perfectly normal and healthy cat that wasn’t displaying any symptoms…well oh heck do we wish we knew what we know today back then! So here we have our top FIVe fibs debunked; there are more but we’ll keep that for another blog. Shifting attitudes on the stigma attached to FIV positive cats can change the lives of many more cats around the world by placing them in loving homes.

1. “I will catch FIV from an infected cat”

Absolutely not. Humans are at ZERO risks of catching the virus from a cat…only rumours through fake news and misconceptions on the subject. Dogs are also not at risk of catching it, the F for feline gives that one away…


2. “My FIV negative cat will catch the virus from an infected cat”

Negative and positive cats can live harmoniously providing a thorough introduction process has been carried out so there isn’t any conflict between them. FIV is transmitted through blood as such in transfusions and deep bite wounds from an infected cat. Outdoor unneutered male cats are most likely to fight for territory and are at higher risk of contracting the virus. We are firm believers that every cat should spay or neutered, minimising the risk of various viruses, most importantly keeping the over-populations of stray cats down.


3. “I want my kitten to be tested for the virus”

It’s rarely transmitted from a mother to her kittens; an infected mother can pass on the antibodies but rarely the virus therefore we test cats over 6 months old. Testing earlier can often result in a false positive. From experience, cats have not shown obvious symptoms of being infected until an ELISA test was carried out at the vet clinic.


4. “FIV+ Cats cannot be insured”

Policies with insurance providers differ and some policies will include pre-existing conditions. We suggest you disclose FIV to the insurance provider at the time of purchasing a policy.


5. “An FIV positive cat will die younger”

Not really, they might be at a higher risk of developing or catching illnesses, but appropriate measures must be taken to protect them, such as, good quality nutrition, keeping them indoors, being proactive in their health and behaviour and regular vet visits – isn’t this what any responsible pet-parent would do with a non-infected cat anyway?


After reading this, you’re interested in adopting an FIV positive cat (or negative), please contact us. We treat adoptions the same across the board for any cat adopted from us. We customise our level of counselling with a boutique touch, whether you are a new pet parent or owned cats for many decades, and this is what sets us apart.



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