FIV – Top Ten Things You Need To Know

Let’s talk about FIV. It’s something that deserves mentioning because many, many cats and kittens are being euthanized every day because they have this virus. FIV+ cats require a little extra attention but can live healthy, full, normal lives, like any other cat, and those that are euthanized because of it are unnecessarily robbed of that opportunity. Here are ten things you need to know about FIV:

1) FIV is NOT a death sentence.

2) FIV is transmitted through deep bite wounds. Keeping your cat indoors can help him avoid these types of encounters. Having your cat spayed or neutered will also lessen the chance of him getting in such a fight.

3) FIV is not spread through sharing of food bowls, litter boxes, grooming, sneezing, or other normal contact between cats.

4) Humans and dogs cannot contract FIV.

5) Kittens who test positive for FIV at birth may re-test negative after six-months of age. They should never be euthanized because of a positive test result.

6) FIV+ and FIV- cats can live peacefully together in a shared household. As long as there is no fighting, the possibility of transmission to non-infected cats is very low.

7) Symptoms can include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, anemia, weight loss, conjunctivitis, dental disease, sneezing, eye and nose discharge, poor appetite, and diarrhea. These symptoms may not appear for many years, if they appear at all.

8) FIV+ cats can live upwards of 16 years, just like a normal cat, with proper vet care and a high-protein, grain-free diet.

9) FIV is NOT the same as Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).

10) FIV+ cats are adoptable and are waiting for you to take that first step!

If you’re interested in adopting an FIV+ cat, here are some places you can start searching for your new friend.


Furkids, Atlanta, GA

Cat Guardians, Lombard, IL

Tree House, Chicago, IL

Tabby’s Place, Ringoes, NJ


If you know of any other places that adopt out FIV cats, let me know and I’ll add them to this list!



  • […] First, Wolfie’s resume: He’s 7 years old, he’s done hard time, and he has FIV. Whoops!  Not exactly a mother’s dream, but the story behind it is amazing. Check this out: Wolfie was living in a semi-feral colony in a military prison in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He and one of the inmates became buddies; Wolfie provided companionship, the inmate provided food. As it turns out, Wolfie LOVES food. When the inmate was about to be transferred, he made arrangements to make a donation to a local shelter to provide for the kitties from the colony that he was leaving behind. Wolfie was released from prison and moved into a minimum security shelter – and that was when they found out he had FIV. […]

  • […] This fellow may look as rugged as an angry primate, but rest assured he’s as sweet as a tasty tea-time treat. Gorilla Biscuit came into Tree House through a TNR project. He’s 6 years old, give or take a few months, and has the kind of eyes that tell you he’s seen a few things in his time. Although he’s sweet and loves to snuggle, Mr. Biscuit has a few things that make his chances of finding a home more difficult than other kitties. First, he’s black, and sadly, black cats are the least adopted color of cat in the country. They often get left behind because of their color, (or absence thereof, depending on your definition of the rainbow) and end up staying at shelters longer than other colors of cat. Secondly, the distinguished Mr. G. Biscuit has FIV that he picked up during his life on the hard streets. Does it mean he’ll have a shorter lifespan? Not necessarily. It means he needs regular vet care to be sure his health is holding steady, but other than that, he is a healthy, happy man cat. (More info on FIV here.) […]

  • Kitten Rescue in Los Angeles, CA also adopts out FIV+ cats.

  • Excellent post about FIV+ cats, thank you Crepes. Another great rescue that does adopt out FIV+ cats and have been advocates for them since FIV was discovered, is Purrfect Pals Cat Shelter in Arlington, WA ( north of Seattle). They are no- kill of course and do so much to help cats. I too believe that FIV cats deserve to live just as much as any other cat. ( check out this wonderful group:)

  • grate post crepes…we haz several palz who be FIV +…one bee sharin hiz place with two brothers anda sister…him iz happee… otherwise healthee… N livin large & in charge out in scottsdale…keepin de propertee safe frum vizshuz snakes 🙂 rock on gleek we love ya dood

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