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Are most feral cats FIV+?

Posted by appletrees-321263 - Created: 5 years ago
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2 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 2)

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Posted by Cathouse-290059 - 5 years ago


Leslie Fraser explains it well, as above, and I can confirm our big softie male cat, Emilou, was bitten in 2003 by the neighbour's aggressive cat and picked up FIV, but he's had a good life since. He's not infected our other puddies over the years, they're all negative. (We quietly had the neighbour's cat operated and he did calm down.) FIV is not an airborne virus, cats can't pick it up from using the same litter box or sharing the same feeding dish, it's usually transmitted through deep bites. It's a cat only disease, humans and other animals are never affected. 

We have Emilou's teeth checked annually because gingivitis seems to be the main problem with FIV cats and if he picks up a slight infection we get it treated immediately.  He's done so well otherwise and at age 14 the vet is more concerned about his kidney function, a common problem in older cats.  Our vet never puts an otherwise healthy cat to sleep because it's FIV pos. They can have years of good life as long as they're well cared for, opped and as long as they're not fighters.

Emile has not infected our other cats which proves how non-infectious it is in a gentle puddy.  We're also happy to help out the occasional stray as long as they're gentle personalities, most will not be FIV positive, but it's important they're opped as soon as possible.  FIV is not the contagious horror that I used to fear.  They can have years of good life.  

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Posted by Leslie Frasier-212797 - 5 years ago

No, most feral cats are not FIV+ (equivalent to HIV+ in humans but it's strictly a cat disease).

Many times un-neutered males are FIV+ because their hormones drive them to fight and the disease is transmitted by biting and sexual contact between cats.  This is another reason to have male cats castrated, as if the smell and marking of territory wasn't enough.  Un-spayed females are also more inclined to contract the disease.  It's much more rare that a sterilized cat will contract the disease but it is possible if they get attacked by an un-neutered male, for example.  Many cats who are HIV+ live long lives without infecting their friends as long as they are sterilized.

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