Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)


Similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which is responsible for AIDS, it cannot however be transmitted to humans.


It is a disease that progressively destroys a cat’s immune system and makes them more and more vulnerable to infections. It is transmitted through bites and blood transfusions.




Living with a cat with FIV  (Also known as feline AIDS)



A cat with FIV is above all a cat like any other who wants nothing more than to be cuddled and fawned over. To better understand this disease and especially to reassure you of the adoption process for a cat with FIV, here is a brief explanation of what FIV really is.


Owing to its given name of feline immunodeficiency virus, FIV impairs the immune system of an animal, making it more susceptible to infections. The disease can lay dormant for many years, leaving kitty free to enjoy life fully and without risk! 


Given that this is a disease that is not communicable to humans or other species such as dogs, the unlucky ones have been contaminated by other cats. It can be spread through sexual contact, bites (exchange of saliva and blood) or blood transfer such as two wounds coming in contact with each other. You can therefore rest assured that it is not spread from saliva to saliva, food bowls, litter boxes, and let alone by playing! Contamination through floor contact or contaminated toys is also impossible. 


If you don’t have any other cats, all the more reason to welcome a cute little FIV fur ball into your home, especially one who doesn’t understand why he or she is so often skipped over by prospective owners!


When it comes to adoption, here are three recommendations: 

  • Keep your cat warm and indoors: You must not let your cat wander, so as to lessen the risk of infection to other felines even though the virus does become fragile in exterior environments.
  • Castration or sterilization will be mandatory: to avoid sexual intercourse, fights and straying, thus putting other cats at risk. This part is already taken care of by the Shelter!   
  • A cat that is protected is one that will have a long life: regular de-worming, vaccinations that are up to date and a good nutrition are the keys to keeping your feline companion at your side for years to come.  

A cat can live up to 20 years, but many cats (even those not testing positive for FIV) may die sooner for various reasons. Heart attacks have taken the lives of many cats this year. Their owners are always surprised, given that these were often healthy looking cats who did not present any symptoms. 



If you have other cats, the same advice applies. What’s more, all you need is a bit of preparation before welcoming your new arrival by preparing the pets you have currently. It is also important to be vigilant during their first meeting to avoid fights.