Friday, August 9, 2019

more on FIV+ cats

**a post from the mom

A woman walked into the rescue a few weeks ago and asked about our policy on adopting FIV+ cats. I replied that we do a standard adoption but no real restrictions once she was approved. Then I asked why the question. It seems that the local humane society has recently started adopting FIV+ (this is a policy change for them) but will only adopt to single cat homes and if you adopt an FIV+ cat from them, you cannot adopt another cat again for the lifetime of the first cat.


While I appreciate the change in policy, could they be any more ignorant?? (ok - I'm sure they could, but still...if they are going to make a policy change, the least they could do is give out correct information)

I've posted about this before... I've gotten mad at bad tv information, I played 20 questions with a vet and vet tech. I have an entire page devoted to information about FIV and FeLV. I fostered an adult FIV+ boy along with a kitten (who did later test negative).

adult cat and kitten
Soda and Annatto

What amazes me is the amount of BAD information still floating around out there. We have taken kittens from vet offices to save their lives after an FIV+ test. I have taken to telling our FIV adopters that if they get any fishy advice from their vet, FIND A NEW VET. Just this past Wednesday, I had to assure a potential adopter that you can have positive and negative cats living together.

I was interested upon touring Treehouse Humane Society in Chicago (I visited while there for Meow Meetup) that they keep small colonies of cats per room and mix positive cats with negative cats. They have an info sheet about each cat in a book and while it is mentioned on the info sheet, they don't make a big deal about it.

I also discovered (and am not sure why it took me this long to realize it) but the FIV vaccine is no longer made as of 2017. (Turns out the article got the date wrong. The manufacturer stopped making it in 2016) I have never been a fan of this vaccine and have told people that over and over. Considering how FIV is spread and the risk for shot site sarcomas, it isn't worth the risk in my opinion (and I'm not a vet nor do I play one on the internet). The thing that has always bothered me more than anything about the vaccine was this one fact: if the cat is vaccinated, the FIV test will come back showing positive.

Read that again and think about it.... The test will come back positive simply if the cat is vaccinated.

Scary right? If you had a vaccinated cat that got out with no identification (and this is a good place to remind you to microchip your pets and keep the information current), and that cat was picked up by the average animal control officer, they would test for FIV and more than likely euthanize the cat based on a positive test result.

Which takes us back where we started long ago:
  1. FIV negative and positive cats CAN live together (so long as the positive cat isn't agressive)
  2. FIV will not shorten the life of your cat - they live the same average life span as a typical cat
  3. FIV can and should see the vet a little more often - they can have dental issues
  4. FIV is exclusive to cat - people, dogs, whatever, can't catch it
  5. FIV is NOT feline aids. Stop telling people that and freaking them out.

Tell me your stories... Does your local rescue adopt out FIV cats? Do you have one yourself? Have you gotten bad advice? Anything else you would like me to talk about??


  1. Thank you for setting the record strait regarding FIV + cats. I'm always amazed at how much misinformation there is out there, and that some of it given out by vets who should know better.

  2. That is sure good information. So far I haven't had a FIV cat. But thanks for that info. Have a great day.

  3. I'm shocked that a humane society would have such outdated information! Our rescue has been adopting out FIV+ since before I was volunteering with them (six years). We have great success with FIV+ cats and -- mostly -- we seem to have an increasingly educated public. We don't routinely test cats unless there's a medical (ie. non-thriving) reason to and we never test kittens. Though the shelter we work with sometimes does. We hate it because we have to reveal the results and the test is frequently inaccurate in kittens! I know I've fostered FIV+ cats but I'm not sure how many because I *don't pay attention* to it!! (BTW, our rescue forbid the use of the term "feline AIDS" a number of years ago!!!)

  4. A neighbor parroted back to me about an FIV pos stray that her vet told her to euthanize, which she did. Years ago, a dear friend euthanized a stray/feral bc of FIV pos. And my own friendly feral Sammy, whom I took to the vet for a dental, was tested for FIV, and when it came back positive, the vet assured me that his life was at its end anyhow. Yes, we euthanized Sammy. This is an excellent post; it cannot be said often enough...FIV positive is not a life sentence!

  5. Our shelter adopts out FIV cats like non-FIV cats, though we do educate the adopter as to what FIV means. What's frustrating now is that we had a state inspector come in and tell us that we have to house our FIV and FeLV cats separate from the others...even if they are in separate cages. Which is impossible for us to do because we just don't have the space. Sad that we have to keep educating people on this subject.

  6. This is a great post, thank you for getting the right info out there!

  7. Great post. To be honest I can't answer any of your questions. I assume our Humane society tests and three of my cats (Sasha, Silver & Sami) came from them. The other three were from litters, Shady and Silas were born on my brother's farm when the previous owners left the cat behind. Saku was born in a small town my daughter taught in so those three were never tested, unless the vet did so when I took them in to be spayed/neutered. I certainly don't recall being told anything.

  8. I've put this on Facebook, too:

    I took my Raleigh in a year ago. He was living outside and looked so bedraggled, I thought he was at least middle-aged. One eye was oozing reddish goop, his fur was matted and coarse, he feared everything - and he was FIV-positive. On top of that, he has stomatitis. It turns out he was just two, and now, his eye has cleared up, he has an excellent appetite, he plays, he’s friendly, and he gets along with my other cats - and I don’t worry about him spreading his FIV. His mouth is in very good shape, and he is a cheerful cat. With a decent diet, an inside life and care exercised to watch over his health, an FIV-positive cat can live a long and happy life.

  9. how long did our catster pal Gleek live.....and with how many other cats both in KY and AZ ~~~~~~~~~~~~


    1. sorree we hada moe mint ther N hit post bee for we went on a tie raid... ♥♥♥

  10. So much misinformation out there. Thank you for setting the record straight.

  11. Wow, there is still so much to be done as far as educating people!

  12. You tell them! The misinformation is real and dangerous. And if I hear Feline AIDS one more time....

  13. Great post, Jeanne! This is really important stuff, and I'm so glad you are one of the champions helping to get the REAL truth out there.


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