FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)

FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)

FIV is a virus that is similar to the human virus HIV, but FIV affects cats only.

FIV is passed through saliva, the blood and other bodily fluids.  It can not be transferred from cat to cat on people’s hands or clothes.

FIV has an incubation period of months or years, so a cat with FIV may be healthy before any signs of the virus show.  Many infected cats may fall ill from something else entirely before the FIV infection causes problems. 

Once the disease develops, infected cats may:

  • become ill more often eg cat flu, sore gums, digestive upsets etc
  • not seem their usual selves or have a high temperature
  • take longer than normal to recover from infection
  • lose weight

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for FIV, as it is difficult to know when the signs will develop.  If a cat picks up an infection, antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs will most likely be given as appropriate.

The best way to prevent an FIV+ cat catching any infection, is to keep them indoors, feed them a good diet, and make sure their vaccinations and flea and worm treatment is kept up to date.

If you think your cat may have the FIV virus, a blood test can be done that detects the antibodies to the virus in the blood. Contact your local vet for more information on getting your cat tested.

There is currently no vaccine for FIV in the UK, but getting your cat neutered can reduce the chance of contracting FIV through mating and fighting.  For more information on how we may be able to help with getting your cat neutered, visit the neutering page./

There are many benefits of owning an FIV+ cat. These are some of them:

If you are retired or spend a lot of time at home, they will be a constant companion being indoors
You won’t need to worry about them getting lost or into outdoor accidents.
If you live next to a busy road or in a flat, then an indoor, FIV+ cat would be suitable.