Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blog the Change and Opt to Adopt


Every three months, BlogPaws sponsors Be the Change for Pets. Bloggers pick a topic and talk about how they want to make a change, something they believe in or a way they are making a change.

according to Merriam-Webster -
         a state in which your emotions (such as fear) are so strong that you behave in an uncontrolled way

         a situation in which many people behave or react in an extreme or uncontrolled way because of fear, anger, etc.

         to give (someone) information about something : to train (someone) to do something

We want to talk about FIV. For some reason you mention a positive test and people lose their minds. Which is where education comes into play. The more you know, the less scary something can be when you discover it.

Meet River Diva:
She was found dumped at a local river spot and when tested came up positive for FIV. Unfortunately, in the majority of shelters across this US, this would have been an automatic death sentence. She got lucky that she was picked up by our rescue that is no-kill and will give her a chance to find a home. She is about 2 years old and super sweet - she sleeps on her foster mom's pillow at night. And she lives in a foster home with other cats.

What kind of a home? Someone who loves her. That is all it takes.

According to Crash's Landing in Grand Rapids MI (a rescue that takes FIV and FeLV cats):
FIV transmission

FIV is difficult to transmit, the main route is via a bite where the virus is actually injected into the bloodstream

There is often confusion between FIV and FeLV, this is particularly the case regarding the transmission of the virus.

The FIV virus is present in the saliva, and for transmission to another cat to take place, the live virus has to enter the bloodstream of the recipient cat.

There are two main reasons why FIV isn't transmitted via shared bowls or mutual grooming as is sometimes wrongly suggested:

Firstly the virus is very fragile, and does not live for long once outside the body - it is destroyed by drying, light, heat and basic detergents - normally the virus will be long-dead before any surfaces come to be cleaned, it is the initial drying that sees off the vast majority of the virus, and this will normally happen in seconds.

This is why the route of transmission is primarily via a bite, where the still wet saliva containing the live virus is effectively injected through the skin directly into contact with the blood of the recipient cat.

The second reason is that the mucous membrane is a fairly effective barrier to the virus, so even if some virus does enter the cat's mouth, it is very unlikely to cross the mucous membrane, so will likely die within the stomach. It has been suggested that, for the virus to actually infect a cat when taken in through the mouth, there would need to be ten thousand times as much virus present for it to achieve a cross infection.

Interestingly, this is confirmed by the fact that kittens born to an FIV+ mother are rarely infected with the virus - although the kittens are not infected directly in the womb, as the placenta will protect them, the virus is present in the mother's milk, so all kittens will have prolonged exposure to the live virus in their digestive systems, yet it is very uncommon for the kitten to actually become infected - this is testiment to how effective the mucous membrane must be in preventing transmission.

It is for these reasons that the often-prescribed "keep separate from other cats" is NOT valid. FIV cats can live communally with non-FIV cats with very little risk of the virus being transmitted between them - unless the cat is a fighter and gives another cat a serious bite, which is rare with properly introduced household cats. The vast majority of cats, once neutered, will not bite other cats they live with - they may play and scrap, but this rarely leads to the serious bite required to inject the virus. There are numerous examples of households with large numbers of cats living together with FIV-positive cats without the virus being transmitted. A slow and careful introduction is required when bringing any new cat into an existing household, especially so with an FIV cat.

So, River Diva needs a home. With someone who is willing to care for her like every other cat deserves to be cared for: a safe home, good food, regular vet care. She doesn't need to be locked away from other cats. She just needs to be loved.

Spread the word - the more people that understand that this IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be a death sentence the better.

For other resources, check out these articles:
   Best Friends FAQ about FIV
   Shadows Cats FIV article


  1. Excellent post for Blog the Change! River Diva's story is all too common. Sharing.

  2. beautiful subject.. if it changes only one mind..

    1. that is our hope. it was interesting to watch the kid in UT seeing the "sick" kitties act not so sick....

  3. best fishes two ewe river....we hope yur for evers home bee just round de korner ♥♥♥♥

  4. You explained the difference clearly. Our Domino is FIV+ and it's never been a concern and we'd do it again.

  5. Thanks for spreading the truth about FIV!

  6. Great post on FIV. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. We've been reading a lot about FIV, and we hope that the old oversimplification we still hear of "Feline AIDS" fades away, since it stirs up more fear than understanding.

  8. Great post. River Diva looks like a precious girl and we are so glad she was rescued. Now for her to find a forever home. Sharing.

  9. Really informative and important post, thank you. Sending purrs for the right and perfect forever home to come forward for sweet River Diva. (Thanks for your B-Day wishes, kitties!)

  10. Awareness and education...the keys to changing the world! Thanks for helping to get the facts out there in plain language to fight the fear.

  11. THANK you!! I spent an hour yesterday, intending to make kitty vids for Wayside, but instead educating someone on FIV and the differences between FIV and FeLV.
    People also don't realize how relatively "young" this is. Sadly that means some vets are hysterical about it too.

  12. Our family had a petite Russian Blue that my grandmother named Kitty. She was FIV positive. Kitty eventually had to have all her teeth pulled, and a few times a year, our vet gave Kitty a steroid shot which helped her live to be over 20 years old.


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