Information on cats and FIV from the MHS veterinary staff
FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus that can be passed to other cats only through blood to blood contact (usually biting). However, it is not contagious to other species, like dogs and humans.
FIV is a cat-only disease. You cannot contract FIV from your pet. FIV cats can often live quite long and normal lives with proper care (high quality food and regular veterinary care). Some cats live a long time with this virus often with no symptoms at all. You should plan on having a veterinarian examine your cat at least once to twice a year. We encourage potential adopters to discuss bringing an FIV positive cat into their home with their own veterinarian prior to adoption.
FIV cannot be spread to other cats through casual contact, like sharing litter boxes, water and food bowls, or snuggling and playing. However, we recommend an FIV cat be the only cat in the household or go to a home with other FIV positive cats.
FIV positive cats should be kept indoors to prevent them from spreading the virus. Cats fighting and biting each other is a way FIV can be transmitted if one of the cats has FIV.
Living with indoor only cats
Here are a few tips and resources to entertain indoor cats.
Doors: Keep them closed! Cats are drawn to the exciting outside world, which for cats with FIV can be unsafe. Ensure that everyone in the house knows that keeping doors closed is crucial to keep your cat safe.
Toys: Be sure there is an array of toys including wand toys, plush toys, and ball chasers.
Trees: Cat trees that is! Get a challenging climbing tree that can provide your cat with various levels to jump around on.
Kitty TV: Cats will enjoy a sunny window perch to view the outside world.
Attention: Ensure that your cat receives plenty of attention from you! Play, cuddles, grooming are all great.
Resources: The MHS behavior & training department offers many cat classes and workshops to help you purr-fect your relationship with you cat.
Not sure if your cat’s behavior is normal? Are you having kitty potty problems? Have a question? The behavior & training department is here to help! Call our cat behavior hotline at 415.506.6284.