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Have you ever heard of Feline Leukemia or Feline Aids?

FeLV and FIV are two different viruses that suppress a cat’s immune system. Though both viruses are contagious to other cats, they cannot be spread to other species, including dogs and humans. Cats with either virus can live normal, healthy lives when provided with quality care like a balanced diet and yearly wellness exam.

If you currently do not have any other cats or already have a cat with FeLV or FIV, you could be a perfect home for one of the cats in our FeLV/FIV adoption program. Because of the disease’s contagious nature, these cats must be kept indoors at all times. We may require a vet reference to ensure the match works for both you and the cat’s best interests.

We look forward to having an open conversation with an adopter that is interested in the program. If you think that adopting a cat with FeLV or FIV is the right fit for you, contact us to talk to a staff member today. We will help you determine if this program is right for you.

What do you need to know about adopting a FeLV or FIV cat?

All adopters interested in a cat with Feline Leukemia or Feline Aids will need to meet BHS’s adoption policies and procedures. Additionally, we ask adopters of cats with FeLV or FIV have no other cats in the home. If they do, they must have cats with the virus.

Unfortunately, a cat with FeLV and a cat with FIV cannot go home with each other, as they are two different viruses. We also require all cats with FeLV or FIV to be strictly indoor cats due to the disease’s contagious nature. Our adoption policies and fees can be found here.

Caring for a Cat with FeLV*

  • Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced diet free of raw meat, eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products, which harbor bacteria and parasites that lead to infection.
  • Provide a quiet place for your cat to rest indoors, away from other cats who could promote disease.
  • Bring your cat to the vet every six months, at the very least, for a wellness checkup and blood tests.
  • During the early stages of infection, a cat may not show any clinical signs, but they can still pass the virus to other cats.
  • It’s not advisable to introduce a new, uninfected cat into the household, even one who has been vaccinated against FeLV. Those living in close quarters with infected cats are most at risk for infection and should be tested for the virus. If negative, they should be housed separately.
  • FeLV is contagious to other cats, but not humans or other species. Other cats in the house can acquire the virus from an infected cat. Though the virus doesn’t live long outside of the body and is easily inactivated with common disinfectants, it can be passed through mutual grooming, shared food, water, and common litter boxes.
  • Sadly there is no cure for FeLV. It is estimated that less than 20% of clinically infected cats survive more than three years of active infection. In the case of those cats who develop cancer, chemotherapy can help prolong life, but treatment often focuses on providing the best quality of life.

*Taken from the ASPCA’s Website.

Caring for a cat with FIV*

  • Keep your cat indoors. This will protect them from contact with disease-causing agents to which they may be susceptible. By bringing your cat indoors, you’re protecting uninfected cats in your community.
  • Watch for changes, even seemingly minor, in your cat’s health and behavior. Immediately report any health concerns to your vet.
  • Bring your cat to your vet at least twice per year for a wellness checkup, blood count, and urine analysis.
  • Feed your cat nutritionally balanced food. No raw food diets, please. Bacteria and parasites in uncooked meat and eggs can be dangerous to immunocompromised pets.
  • Be sure your cat is spayed or neutered.
  • Sadly, there is no treatment for FIV. Cats can carry the virus for a long time before symptoms appear. Therefore, treatment focuses on extending the asymptomatic period or, if symptoms have set in, on easing secondary effects of the virus.

*Taken from the ASPCA’s website.

Words From Happy Homes