5 Reasons Why You Should Have No Fear of FIV in Cats

Some huge news has swept the cat rescue community! A few weeks ago, the results of a study about FIV transmission between infected and non-infected cats were published.  The results are confirmed: FIV is not transmitted between cats who just live peacefully together. So, what exactly is FIV? Short for feline immunodeficiency virus, it can cause an AIDS-like syndrome, but FIV is not typically fatal for cats – they can live relatively healthily as carriers and transmitters of the disease for a very many years.

Here are five reasons you shouldn’t be scared of FIV in cats:

1. FIV is never contagious from just casual contact

Grooming, eating from the same bowls, using the same litter box, snuggling and simply playing won’t cause transmission of FIV. The virus isn’t strong enough to be passed from one cat to another.

2. FIV is not an automatic death sentence

Majority of FIV-positive cats will live long, healthy lives… as long as they are kept indoors and receive regular veterinary care.

3. FIV-positive cats are largely healthy

The feline immunodeficiency virus acts very slowly, and the vast majority of FIV-positive cats show no signs of the disease at all for many years.

4. An FIV-positive cat may not even have the virus

If a cat has been vaccinated against FIV at any time in his life, the “snap test” performed at vets’ offices and shelters will come back positive. Even most tests don’t do a good job of distinguishing between infected and vaccinated cats.

5. FIV is not contagious to humans or to other animals

While the feline immunodeficiency virus is related to the human AIDS virus, like all immunodeficiency viruses, it is species-specific. That means it can’t be spread to dogs, cows, goats, monkeys, people, or any other type of animals.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

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