Today Missy from Best Friend Pet Adoption taught me a very valuable lesson: FIV+ cats are amazing!
In my recent post I mentioned Tyson, who was such a sweetie at my recent BFPA cat adoptee photography shoot. He came right up to me to visit and was really friendly. If I were to adopt a cat from that day, it would have been Tyson.
Well, guess what! Tyson is FIV+! In the past – in my ignorance! – I would not have even wanted to be in a room with an FIV+ cat. I was afraid I could spread FIV to other cats if the infected cat rubbed on my leg or drooled on me. First, FIV stands for “feline immunodeficiency virus” – the cat version of HIV. However, I found I knew less about FIV than I do about HIV and have been really biased against FIV cats! No more! In fact, Tyson was probably more at risk from ME than I was from HIM!
Here’s the scoop:
FIV+ cats can only spread their virus through blood. This means deep scratches or blood transfusions. It is OK if they groom other cats, share their food, and snuggle. It is only if there is a bad cat fight and blood is exchanged that there is a risk. And FIV is NOT HIV. Humans canNOT get the virus from cats. (I knew this last fact already, but just thought I’d add this bit.) What I had been worried about in the past was sharing a house with FIV+ and FIV- cats together. But unless they are fighters, they are OK, even to groom each other! And I had been afraid of this and their sharing their food.
I am so glad I asked Missy if Tyson put the others at risk. She kindly gave me the information and changed my view of FIV+ cats forever, especially since Tyson was my favorite of all – and this is out of an amazing group of cats.
No, you can’t adopt Tyson – he already has a forever home. But yes – you can adopt another FIV+ cat. Here are a few things to know:
- Keep your FIV+ cat indoors. This will prevent spread of the disease in your area. And it will keep your kitty safe from getting infections from the insects and animals s/he encounters.
- Do not feed your FIV+ cat raw foods. These foods can carry parasites and pathogens that could make your cat ill.
- Continue to have your FIV+ cat vaccinated.
- Be vigilant against fleas, worms, and mites, as these can cause extra problems with your FIV+ cat.
- FIV+ cats were thought to have a much shorter life expectancy than non-infected cats, but now cats who are well cared for are living into their teens!
- FIV+ cats are amazing and can make loving members of your family!
Apologies from me to all of the FIV+ kitties I have overlooked these past years. In reality, to my knowledge I have only ever met two FIV+ kitties, and one of them was Tyson. So a huge thanks to Missy and to Tyson for educating me.
Here are some photos of Tyson. Let’s show our support for FIV+ cats!