Fival is a FIV+ cat currently waiting for his forever home at the APCSM.

FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.  Sometimes it’s called Cat AIDS and the truth is that it is the feline version of HIV the human immunodeficiency virus.  Cats with FIV are surrendered and put up for adoption every day in shelters all across the US, where they often linger far longer than the average cat because, well, let’s be honest, cat AIDS sounds scary!  If we are being honest here though, the truth is that it’s not what most people imagine and FIV+ cats are just as capable and eager to give love as any other available cat.  So here are some truths and fictions about cats with FIV.

Humans can catch FIV from cats.  

FICTION. FIV is not transmittable to any other species so while a FIV+ cat can transmit FIV to another cat humans, dogs, turtles, guinea pigs, and all other pets are safe.


Cats with FIV must live as the only cat or with other FIV+ cats.

FACT.  A FIV+ cat can transmit the virus to other cats so they must either be the only cat in the household or live with other FIV+ cats. They must also be indoor only cats to ensure that hey don’t infect any other cats they meet outside or speed up the progression of the disease.

FIV is incurable.

FACT.  There is currently no cure for FIV but veterinarians are working hard and come up with new medications and treatments all the time.  Today they can keep the disease at bay far longer than in the past and FIV+ cats can have very fulfilling lives as pets.

FIV+ Cats Only Live A Few Years.

FICTION.  While the average lifespan for an FIV+ cat a few years ago was 5 years, new therapies and treatments are emerging all the time.  A lot depends on the cat itself as well.  A healthy young cat that contracts the virus may have 10 years while a senior cat with other health problems will have less time.

FIV+ Cats are more expensive in the long run.

FACT.  When you adopt a FIV+ cat you need to consider that as the disease progresses there will be medication, increased vet visits, and other expenses.  This cat will love you for the rest of it’s life and trust you to make that life as comfortable as possible.

FIV will make the cat mean.

FICTION.  FIV symptoms vary and can include anything from dental problems to sneezing to weight loss.  Behavior changes are possible but usually tend more towards lethargy.  If your FIV+ cat suddenly starts to hiss when you approach or pick it up chances are that it’s in pain and a vet can help diagnose and treat the problem.

At any given time we may have FIV+ cats living at the APCSM while they wait to find their forever homes.   They are sweet and not at all scary and would love to meet the right family so if you think that may be you stop by and ask about an FIV+ cat today!


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