FIV: Fabulous, Invincible, and Valuable

FIV(Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is a complex retrovirus that causes immunodeficiency disease in domestic cats. In non-fancy jargon, basically the cat’s body is unable to properly protect the immune system. As a result of immunodeficiency, most infected cats do not show symptoms and have a normal life expectancy, but they are prone to developing other infections and certain types of cancer. We adopt out FIV positive cats, and I just want to showcase how great they are, by explaining their unique quality.

A retrovirus, such as FIV, is slow-moving and can lay dormant in the body for months and even years. That is why most infected cats do not show symptoms right away and live a normal life expectancy. Many people compare it to the human virus HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus.) Genetics may or may not play a role in if a cat is more susceptible in getting the virus. The average age is five years at the time of diagnosis, and the likelihood of infection increases with age.

FIV is mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds, the kind that usually occur outdoors during aggressive fights and territorial disputes-the perfect reason to keep your cat inside. Another less common way is if the mother of a litter is FIV positive. She may pass that down to one or more of her kittens, which is where genetics comes into play. FIV is more common in males because of the more aggressive tendencies males get in terms of defending themselves in the outdoor territory, but female cats can get it as well. Cats who live indoors are the least likely to be infected. The most common cat that will get FIV is an un-altered, free-roaming, outdoor male cat who fights.

People cannot catch FIV, only from cat to cat. As mentioned above, symptoms take years to develop, but some of those are fever, weight loss,  anemia, dental disease, and sneezing, to name a few. If you think your cat has FIV, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get them tested. FIV infection is determined through a blood test, and sometimes they require another test be done later on for confirmation.

At this moment, there is no cure for FIV, but it is very manageable. There is a vaccine, but it does not protect all cats. Keeping your cat indoors is one of the most important things, so they don’t get sick, and they don’t infect others. By spaying and neutering your pet, the chances of getting the infection decrease. A vet might prescribe medicine to combat and secondary infections your cat may get. Monitoring your cat is really the most important way to stay one step ahead of this disease. If FIV continues to stay un-treated, the secondary infections they already develop can lead to life-threatening diseases/conditions.

As mentioned earlier, here at Wayside, we adopt out FIV cats because we believe they provide a unique quality to someone’s life, including ours! We have five FIV positive cats currently looking for their forever home. I figured I would take this opportunity to introduce them.

This handsome man is Blackbob. You can learn more about him here. He also has a video, which you can watch here.

This dashing orange man is Jaws. You can learn more about him here. He also has a video, which you can watch here.

This chatty dude is Captain. You can learn more about him here.


This little guy is Edison. You can learn more about him here.


This cuddly boy is Carter. You can learn more about him here.

These are all of our lovely FIV boys. I personally met all of them today, and they have two things in common; FIV and being complete love bugs! What is really nice is this sign is on the back of all of their kennel cards to explain to potential adopters what FIV is. 

Along with this note, our staff and volunteers are always so helpful if anyone has questions. I recommend giving any of these boys a try, they are all so sweet!

We are closed this week due to our Mega Match event during the weekend. I’ll post those hours below.

Monday-Thursday: Closed

Friday: 10:00-7:00

Saturday: 10:00-7:00

Sunday: 12:00-6:00

Written by Teryn


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