THE FACTS ABOUT FIV AND FELV
The Quick Facts About Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Positive Cats
FIV is a slow virus that affects the immune system over a period of years.
FIV is a cat-only disease. It cannot be spread to humans or other non-felines.
FIV is spread through serious, penetrating bite wounds. The type of bite wound that is seen most often in feral, intact tomcats. The virus can also be spread through blood transfusions and on occasion a mother may infect her kittens while they’re in the womb or through her milk after they are born.
FIV can’t be spread casually between cats, such as in water or food bowls, or in litter boxes. Cuddling, playing and other forms of casual physical contact do not spread the virus.
The FIV virus was discovered in 1986. Before then, FIV positive cats and non-FIV cats lived together peacefully all the time.
FIV itself does not shorten a cat’s life-span. Because FIV affects a cat’s immune system it is more difficult for an FIV+ cat to fight off disease. For that reason an FIV+ cat requires a diligent owner—someone who will take her to the vet twice a year for check ups and, immediately, at the first sign of illness.
FIV+ cats are no different from other cats, often living long, healthy lives, never showing any symptoms at all.
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