The Truth About FIV

WHAT IS FIV?

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus causes a weakening of a cat’s immune system. There are so many negative and false beliefs about FIV positive cats.  I want to promote the truth about FIV which is that FIV can only be contracted through deep bite wounds, through blood, during birth (a rare occurrence) and that FIV is not a death sentence.  

Normal social interactions between FIV and Non-FIV cats, such as grooming, sharing food and water bowls, and community litter boxes have no known risk of transmission. Most cats that have FIV live a long, normal life in a multi-cat household. 

So many cats are overlooked in shelters because of this and even worse, uneducated shelters will promote the idea that they need to be in a single-cat household.  Some even refuse taking in cats that are FIV positive all together.

Over the years, I have fostered cats that were FIV positive. One being former foster Mama Simone (renamed Comet). I had an adopter back out of adopting her because of her FIV diagnosis. That’s ok because her perfect adopter came along and she is healthy and thriving in her forever home!

 Former Foster Simone (renamed Comet) in her forever home.  Photo credit Instagram: @silly_comet

Former Foster Simone (renamed Comet) in her forever home. Photo credit Instagram: @silly_comet

When I visited Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, California this past July I was so impressed that they had Romero, a FIV positive cat roaming free among the other cats, AS THEY SHOULD!

 My visit to Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center in Oakland, CA. Notice Romero roaming free around the other cats.

My visit to Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center in Oakland, CA. Notice Romero roaming free around the other cats.

Romero has since been adopted, but Cat Town Cafe should be commended for frequently bringing in FIV positive cats to stay at their adoption center with other cats as they await their forever homes. 

 Romero during his stay at Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center while he was awaiting adoption.  Photo Credit: Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center

Romero during his stay at Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center while he was awaiting adoption. Photo Credit: Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center

 Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center

Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center

It is my hope that one day the stigma around FIV positive cats is a thing of the past and that shelters and rescues become educated on the truth about FIV positive cats. Rather than turning them away or keeping them isolated from other cats while awaiting adoption, shelters and rescues can follow the lead of places like Cat Town Cafe and realize that they can absolutely be housed with other cats while they await adoption. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if no one ever hesitated adopting a FIV positive cat because the truth about FIV was common knowledge?