The Facts about FeLV


As one of very few accredited cat sanctuaries in the US that rescues cats with FeLV, we at The Hermitage would like to spread awareness and understanding of this common kitty ailment. We hope to answer all your questions about what FeLV is, how it affects our feline friends, how to prevent it, and how to manage it. If you only take one thing away form this blog post, we hope that it is this: FeLV-positive cats are adoptable!

FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) is a common feline infectious disease that weakens a cat’s immune system and can cause many types of illness as well as death in infected cats.

While there is no cure for FeLV, there are ways to care for your FeLV+ kitty to help her live her best life for as long as possible, such as:

  • regular vet checkups,
  • an indoor lifestyle,
  • and a balanced diet.


FeLV is easily transmissible between cats (most often through saliva, i.e., grooming and sharing bowls), but there is a safe vaccine that may allow you to have a “mixed” (FeLV+ and non-infected kitties) household. Ask your vet about this option for your non-infected kitties if you are considering bringing an FeLV+ cat into your home or even just as a preventative measure.

At The Hermitage, our FeLV cats are housed separately, but this is more for their own health and to protect their delicate immune systems. We have also begun the process of vaccinating all our non-infected kitties here at the shelter.

If you’re more a visual learner (or just want to see some kitties), please watch our educational YouTube video:


Some other good resources about FeLV (facts, prevention, and management):


Click to enlarge.

We appreciate your generous support!