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What is FIV?

FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency virus.

 

Between 2%-4% of cats world wide are affected.

 

FIV is an infectious disease that attacks the immune system. 

Once, this disease use to be a death sentence for cats. In some places, it still is. But thankfully veterinary science has learned, this big bad virus, isn't as scary as we thought. It is not uncommon for a cat with FIV to live just as long as a cat without. Here at the rescue, as long as a cat is other cat friendly, we don't bat an eye at a positive result. FIV+ and - cats are housed together here as long as they're friendly. One of our sanctuary cats Chaz is FIV+

 

We have learned that FIV can only be transmitted though very deep bite wounds! The virus itself is incredibly weak, and needs to be injected directly into the blood stream to infect a healthy cat. While it's carried in saliva, it is too weak to break through the mucus membranes to get into the blood stream. That means if a non infected cat were to lick up the virus, the virus itself dies before making it into the bloodstream. Cats cannot be infected via grooming, sharing litterboxes, or sharing food bowls. This means that that non cat aggressive positive cats, can live safely with negative cats!

FIV infected cats also live long healthy lives, as long as they receive normal vet care and are kept up on vaccines! We have many seniors at the rescue who have FIV.

But we do have to still be realistic, even though the chances of spread in households are VERY low, they do still exist. When integrating a positive cat into your home, take your time! Follow Jackson Galaxy's method for smoother integrations, and listen to the advice of rescue staff! We get to know these cats so well, we can tell you if you are going to have a good match or not.  

What is FeLV?

FeLV stands for Feline Leukemia Virus.

Between 2%-3% of cats world wide have contracted it.

FELV was once thought to be highly infectious. But that is simply untrue. As it turns out, cats need prolonged contact with each other to contract the disease. We recently had a faulty snap test. This resulted in a cat who was positive being placed in a room of 30 kittens. She was housed with these kittens for 3 months before we found out she was carrying the virus. She was living in close quarters, sharing food bowls, litterboxes, and beds with these kittens. We went through, retested every cat in the room. Not a single cat had contracted the virus in that time. 

This is not a virus you can carry on your shoes, clothes or hands. Nor are your cats likely to get it if you accidently bring home a positive cat and expose them for a few days. 

With that being said, this is still a fatal disease. 85% of cats that contract the disease pass away within the 3 years of initial diagnosis. FeLV attacks the immune system. It is the leading cause in cancer in cats and can also cause a variety of blood diseases. While the chances of a cat contracting this disease with limited exposure are limited. We still do not recommend housing negative and positive cats together. 

The most common methods of transfer are mating, fighting and from mother to kitten. The virus itself is also pathetic. It only lives max a couple hours outside of the body. Which makes transfer even less likely if you do regular cleaning. We typically see FeLV actively spreading in close and unsanitary conditions, like hoarding cases. 

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Some of our Felv+ cats

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