The Difference Between FIV and FeLV

FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)

How do cats get FIV?

FIV is most commonly spread from a deep bite wound caused by an FIV+ cat fighting with another cat. An FIV+ mother can also pass on the virus to her kittens. Sometimes these kittens can test negative after several months because they inherit their mother’s antibodies but not always the virus. FIV is very rarely spread from sharing food bowls, litter boxes or normal contact. FIV is only a feline virus and cannot be spread to humans or other animals. 

How do you know if a cat is FIV+?

The only way to know if a cat is FIV+ is by doing a blood test.

What are the signs and symptoms of FIV?

There are no specific signs of the virus. FIV weakens a cat’s immune system, so they are more prone to illnesses and infections if they are not kept healthy.

Can FIV be treated?

FIV cannot be treated, however it is important to treat your cat for secondary illnesses they may get from having a weakened immune system.

How do you prevent the spread of FIV?

The best way to prevent the spread of FIV is by keeping cats indoors and from fighting with other FIV+ cats. 

Can I adopt an FIV+ cat?

Yes! Our FIV+ cats are highly adoptable. An FIV+ cat can live with a cat that does not have the virus as long as the cats get along. We do not have a set adoption fee for our FIV+ cats, however a donation is appreciated. FIV+ cats can live a normal and long life just like any other cat as long as they live with a responsible pet owner and kept healthy. 

FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)

How do cats get FeLV?

FeLV can be spread through all bodily fluids. Cats more commonly contract the virus through mutual grooming, shared food/water bowls and litter boxes. Kittens can also contract the virus from their mother but don’t always test positive several months after birth. Kittens inherit their mother’s antibodies but not always the virus. FeLV is only a feline virus and cannot be spread to humans or other animals.

How do you know if a cat is FeLV+?

The only way to know if a cat is FeLV+ is by doing a blood test. 

What are the signs and symptoms of FeLV?

There are no specific signs of the virus. FeLV weakens a cat’s immune system, so they are more prone to a variety of infections and diseases.

Can FeLV be treated?

FeLV cannot be treated, however it is important to treat your cat for secondary illnesses they may get from having a weakened immune system.

How do you prevent the spread of FeLV?

The best way to prevent the spread of FeLV is by keeping cats indoors and away from other cats that could be FeLV+. 

Can I adopt an FeLV+ cat?

Yes! FeLV cats are highly adoptable, however the virus will most likely shorten their lifespan. We do not have a set adoption fee for our FeLV cats but a donation is always appreciated. They are just as deserving of a forever home like any other shelter animal but we cannot adopt a FeLV cat out to a home with another cat that has tested negative for the virus. But we especially love when adopters provide a home for more than one of our FeLV cats. They make great companions for each other and have already coexisted at our facility.