Friday, December 14, 2012

Why You Should Adopt FIV Cats

3 FIV cats
3 Curious FIV cats

Feline Immunodeficiency virus is commonly called FIV.  When your cat is tested for FIV at your veterinarians office the test looks for the virus antibodies.   

Many cats that test positive may have been vaccinated against the virus and will show a false positive due to the antibody.  Other cats may have been exposed to the FIV virus and have developed antibodies that fight the virus.    

How Contagious is FIV?
I have FIV positive cats living with non FIV cats under the same roof and these cats drink out of the same bowl of water, sleep together and groom each other. 

The virus has not infected the non FIV cats.  The cats get along well with the each other.   Based on the example of my cats I find that it is not a highly contagious virus.  This cat virus is not transmissible through casual cat contact; drinking from the same bowl, sleeping in the same bed, grooming each other, playing and from airborne particles when the cat sneezes.  

FIV is contagious if the cats fight and inflict the non FIV cat with a bite wound that breaks the skin.  Blood with saliva contact will cause FIV to be contagious.

FIV in Feral Cats
Since 2004 I have been caring for a feral cat colony.  I have trapped and rescued many cats and in that time there were a four FIV cats and one FeLV (feline leukemia) cat.  

One of the cats that tested positive for FIV was a young  adult male tomcat and the other three were feral kittens.   Out of these five cats there were 0 fatalities.   The feral cats received medical care, neuter or spay  and were socialized and I adopted them.  The FeLV and FIV positive cat I adopted also. The cats immune system was able to fight of the FeLV by the third phase however he is still infected with FIV.  All cats are alive and healthy as of this date.

Cats that test positive for FIV can live a long and healthy life.  If you would come to view my cats you would think that they were normal in every way. The only thing that I note as being different is that there energy level is weaker and they sleep more.  

Gracie my FIV cat
Life with an FIV Cat 
When the cats are awake they play together or they visit my husband and me and rub their head on our arms and purr so loud you can hear them across the room.   

Some of the cats will play with the family dog, and others will lie in the sun room.   FIV positive cats have same mannerisms as non FIV cats, they just sleep more. Thus these cats should not be feared and they should not be left in shelters; they need to be adopted into forever homes.  

Many FIV cats will live a long life and will never show symptoms of the virus.   However that does not mean that you can forgo their annual wellness check up by their veterinarian.   All cats must get a check-up by their veterinarian to keep them healthy. 

FIV cats are the same as non FIV cats, except that you must keep them indoors for the rest of their life to protect them from getting sick as they have a weakened immune system; feed them quality food, provide them with a safe and comfortable home, get them spayed or neutered and love them.  If you can do these things then you should adopt FIV cats. 

Caring for your FIV Cat
  1. All FIV and non FIV cats must be spayed or neutered.  
  2. Get annual wellness checkup at veterinarians, an exam and blood panel.
  3. Follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.    
  4. Keep your cat indoors as they are susceptible to infections.   
  5. Keep your house and litter boxes clean.  
  6. Remove your shoes when you come in from the outdoors and put on house slippers.  Leave your shoes at the door or in another area that is off limits to your FIV cat. Shoes are a way to transport bacteria and other germs into your home. 
  7. Feed your cat a high quality canned food.  I like Spa Selects by Blue Buffalo and so do the cats.  Look for a cat food that is high in protein with no corn, soy or wheat gluten. Also supplement your cat’s diet with a Lysine chew formulated for cats only.  Lysine supports your cats immune system to help fight off infection. 
  8. Provide your cat with purified water.  Clean their water bowl daily with antibacterial dish soap.  
  9. Brush their teeth with cat poultry flavored enzyme tooth paste.  By keeping their teeth clean you will prevent gum disease.
  10. A well cared for FIV cat that is kept indoors and is healthy and happy will live a long life on average 15 years

Learn more about FIV:

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