FIV-positive cats are regular in pet sanctuaries and rescues, so chances are you’ve seen one there. Cats infected with FIV are typically kept separate from the rest of the household and should be put in homes with other FIV-positive cats or families without other pets. Simply put, what does the acronym FIV mean? When a cat is FIV-positive, what does it signify for the feline?

Understanding the Truth About Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a virus that is unique to the cat family. Because it impairs the immune system and there is no cure, it is similar to HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS in individuals). FIV was first found in cats in the 1980s, and it has since spread across the globe. Regardless of its occurrence in people, the illness barely affects cats. Only a tiny percentage of infected cats (between one and five percent) may present signs and symptoms.

However, like with HIV, being diagnosed with FIV is not a “death sentence,” as some have claimed. However, if it remains unattended or undiscovered, it can adversely influence your cat’s health and quality of life. Whether you have a cat that has been identified with FIV or are considering taking on an FIV-positive cat, here are some points to keep in mind.

There is no FIV vaccine available right now.

In the past, a vaccination was available to secure against some strains of FIV, but it was inefficient in areas where unprotected virus variants were much more common. FIV vaccine leads cats to obtain FIV antibodies, which is a good thing; however, these antibodies would result in false-positive testing for FIV, which is dreadful.

Numerous unwarranted euthanasias were the outcome of this. As a final preventative measure, guarantee your cat is vaccinated like parasite prevention shots against having other infections and conditions.

FIV is more commonly found in outdoor cats.

Male cats, specifically, can be rather aggressive when squabbling over territory in the wild. Consider neutering your male cat if they want to go outdoors: This reduces the chance of a fight. Along with lowering animal shelter overcrowding, neutering and spaying cats have many other advantages. If you want to have your cat neutered or spayed, you can visit a veterinarian that offers surgical services to complete the process.

FIV is an infection that lasts a lifetime.

FIV is currently incurable. As long as the cat has been affected, they will remain infected for the rest of their lives. Nonetheless, it is unknown if all cats contaminated with the virus would grow ill. It may take weeks, months, or even years for a cat to show signs and symptoms of FIV infection.

FIV-positive cats need to be kept inside as much as possible to stop the spread of the virus and associated diseases. Feeding them a diet to prevent the risk of foodborne bacterial or parasitic ailments, and having frequent wellness checks, twice a year with a vet from pet hospitals like Providence Animal Hospital Charlotte to assess their total health and spot problems early.

Bottom Line

Cat proprietors need to keep their pets inside and far from other cats to avoid the spread of FIV. Breeding cats need to be examined every year before introducing new cats to an FIV-free colony. All FIV-positive cats must be removed from the area and checked once more in three to six months to see if the infection has spread to the other cats.