FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), an immunocompromising disease, affects about 3% of cats in the U.S.
Most of the clinical signs of FIV are non-specific, so any cat with persistent or recurrent illness or clinical signs should be tested, regardless of lifestyle.
Similar to FeLV, it is important to realize that while it is impossible to predict the survival of a given cat infected with FIV, cats infected with FIV can live ostensibly normal lives for years if managed appropriately. Vigilance and close monitoring of the health and behavior of FIV-infected cats is even more important than it is for uninfected cats. Regular vet checkups, an indoor lifestyle, and a balanced diet will help your FIV+ kitty live his best life.
FIV is more difficult to spread than FeLV. It is commonly transmitted through deep bite wounds, so if cats get along and are not aggressive, it is safe to mix FIV+ cats with non-infected felines.
Last year, The Hermitage integrated our FIV-positive cats into the general population. At our shelter, integration has made FIV+ cats more visible and adoptable, allowing us to free up space to rescue more cats with FeLV.
In fact, 22 FIV+ were adopted in 2020, vs just 7 in 2019! That’s a 214% INCREASE!
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 FIV (facts, prevention, and management):
Click to enlarge.