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Readers Respond: Living with a FIV or FELV positive cat

Responses: 26


From the article: FIV in Cats

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FELV) are viruses that weaken a cat's immune system. While they can cause a multitude of health problems because of reduced immune system function, many cats can live a relatively normal life. Care must be taken to prevent bite wounds and keep your cat as healthy as possible.

Your cat's story
Has your feline friend been diagnosed with FIV or FELV? Please tell us about your cat, his or her history, what precautions do you take, and what living with a FIV or FELV positive cat is like.

sad about wiggles

Someone had dropped a kitten at house almost 9 years ago. We live by a busy street so when she was smaller we would have her on a leash outside until she got to the point that she no longer needed tied. The past 6 months she has been loosing weight (even though her appetite has not changed) and lately urinating where ever in the house (litter trained ) until lately. Took her to the vet where she was diagnosed with leukemia. Her gums are bad and even her ears are no longer pink. The vet is suggesting the she be put down as she stated she is a very sick cat. We are truly devastated by this news and unsure what to do. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
—Guest sad about wiggles

Broken Hearted Cat Lover

Adopted an angel cat and had him for one year until this Saturday. He'd been really sick a few times, not eating, pale, weak etc. The doctor said it was FIV. She said he needed a blood transfusion right away and might not make it. We knew he was suffering and in so much pain and was told he wouldn't recover. We thought euthanizm was the humane choice according to what the doctor had said. Did we make a mistake? We are devistated. I feel so guilty after reading your stories, I didn't think we had a choice.
—Guest Meijsha Geisha

had to deal with it. :-(

I had to trust the vet. Mortifying, when i was told my cat had a couple days left. She had a good life, i saved her from a dangerous life. After i got the bad news, i fed her icecream sandwiches and sardines. I watched her die for a month and a half. Magen is and always be a part of my soul. Know that you did everything you could do and know that they know that too!!
—Guest respectanimalscausetheywereherefirst


I had a cat that tested positive years ago and we just had to put him down at the ripe old age of 17. Fluffy was positive his whole life. I also have a Maine Coon who is 17 and also positive. We will be putting him down soon. Both have renal failure. Both Fluffy and Boo Boos have been great healthy companions for 17 years. Never put them down just because they test positive.
—Guest joan

Renewed-Life Feral Diagnosed With FIV

Just found out this angel has FIV. So upset. I've worked with him, O.B., for the past 6 years to rid his fear of people and just this past January he has learned that he loves being touched and pet and brushed and held. It's like he was never the outside cat that hissed at me or ran from me when I approached him.This is such sad new for him, and me, but I am hopeful God will give him (& me) many years of this new lifestyle. He's been inside with us & his new 7 cat-friends for 2 yrs. He is kind & playful & apart from a runny nose, seems very happy. Through tears, I'm trying to decide if I need to keep him separate from the other cats. Realistically, I know they have all been exposed, & I take into consideration that O.B. is a lover, not a fighter (or biter) and it would be sad to keep him from his newfound life and buddies. But I can't help wonder if I'm doing the others an injustice. Any ideas from experienced readers in multi-cat households with an FIV cat present would be appreciated
—Guest Dee

FIV cats are loving cats just like non F

About6 years ago I was outside my house and a pickup truck drove by and threw a black and white cat out his window. I was so mad I chased him up the road...needless to say I didn't catch up to him. Anyways, I got back and put food and water out for him. I really didn't know what to do because I have another cat who at the time was11 years old. It was spring time so it was warm enough, so I kept him outside. My husband of course said "no more animals" but eventually I broke him down and he said to take him to the vet. So I took him to the vet, only to find out he had FIV. I was horrified and it didn't help that the vet assistant told me that if I wanted to bring him into my house, he could not have any contact with my other cat. She said I would have to put him in a room completely by himself. I came home and did my own research and found out none of this was true. I have had him since and he is a wonderful loving cat. My other cat is 17 and healthy. My FIV cat now has thyroid cancer!
—Guest Erin

Tom is FIV+

I have two neutered cats and one unneutered male recently adopted. They all live with me. The unneutered Tomcat has just been diagnosed FIV+. I cannot let him mix with my other cats and the vet said that if I let him outside he could infect other cats. He is an unneutered Tom and prone to fighting. Even if I neuter him now, he remains FIV+. His life will simply be living in one room, isolated from my cats and from the outside. The vet has indicated that euthanasia might be the most humane thing to do. Can you offer me any advice? Thank you.
—Guest sapo


I have two neutered cats and one unneutered male recently adopted. They all live with me. The unneutered Tomcat has just been diagnosed FIV+. I cannot let him mix with my other cats and the vet said that if I let him outside he could infect other cats. He is an unneutered Tom and prone to fighting. Even if I neuter him now, he remains FIV+. His life will simply be living in one room, isolated from my cats and from the outside. The vet has indicated that euthanasia might be the most humane thing to do. Can you offer me any advice? Thank you.
—Guest Sapo

FIV and Sr. Citizen Cat: Jasper

I apopted Jasper 17+ years ago from a shelter and found out he had FIV shortly after. That was 17+ years ago and he is sllowing down but, not a bit of illness. He was s'posedly 1 year old at the time which means he's 17+ years . . . and healthy!
—Guest Dave

11yr old cat with FIV

came home today to find my 11yr old FIV+ cat had sadly died.She had FIV for 4yrs.Apart fm a few re-occuring urine infections,easily controlled by C/D food & interferon injection to help her immune system, she coped well with the disease-until 2 wks ago.Lucky developed breathing problems & went off her food.She had x-rays & blood tests,but all came back clear.Vet said she had red sore gums above a couple of teeth (gum disease is common with FIV). She had her teeth cleaned & a couple extracted & with antibiotics/painkillers seemed 2 heal well,her appetite came back & she had more energy.She was due her booster,so had it 5days ago,she has seemed fine,but when I came home she had died.I'm so upset & in shock. Yesterday was the end of a 2wk course of antibiotics,so i don't know if with no antibiotics today an infection set in or if it was the booster injection responsible or a different reason as 2 why she died-there are many possibilities with FIV.
—Guest Guest

FIV+ Kitten FIV- Adult Cat

I recently took in an abandoned 4 week old female kitten that my husband I took to the vet and we had them run tests to see if she was healthy or not. We found out that she tested positive for FIV but we could have her tested again when she's 6 months old. The problem is we took in a Ferrel kitten a year ago, who is now an adult who is healthy and FIV negative; we have only had her and wanted a companion for her but she hisses and growls at the kitten, which I know is normal in the beginning. However we are worried that if the two of them came in contact with each other our older Ferrel cat would bite or scratch and possibly contract the FIV. My husband thinks it's unfair to our healthy Ferrel cat that we would be putting her at risk. But I really have started to become attached to the kitten with FIV and we are at a dilemma. My question: Is it possible for the two of them to co exist without the other contracting the FIV?
—Guest Sunn

FIV Cheeto Cat

Cheeto showed up on my doorstep at age 9 months. He was FIV+ and lived 10 years with mild health issues. His eyes seemed to discharge, Vet said it was an allergy? Then he developed an over active Thyroid and was put on Thyroid Methimazole Transdermal Gel. This went inside the ear, twice a day and he gained back some weight, but was always hungry and thirsty. Not sure if it was the Meds, he later developed diarrhea, but he always made it to the litterbox. His teeth should of been cleaned and he developed tarter and bleeding gums. (I never knew this was an issue with FIV). Felt the Rabies and other Vaccines caused his FIV to take off. I Do not suggest Vaccinating older cats who have FIV because of this. Why put more stress on their immune system. FIV cats do not have to live alone or be given a death sentence. So Adopt a couple FIV cats, they will change your life. Cheeto changed mine.
—Guest Linda Gross

Here we go again

About 10 plus years ago my fiv postive baby kitty Pete showed up at the door with an older cat I named Butch. Neighbors I never knew well moved suddenly and left them behind. Both were declawed (ick) and Both were unable to vend for themselves. I already had two cats and tried to adopt them out... I found out from our vet that Butch was maybe 15 and Pete was about 3 but fiv. When I called the no kill shelter they begged me to keep them even if it was just outdoors. I kept them and they did move indoors. I loved them (my other two cats did not). For awhile I was really angry and tried to track down the neighbor but then gave up. Well Butch died from old age but Pete was always a struggle. He lived a lot longer than our vet thought he would. He'd get sick from a tiny cut and we would take him to the best Vets. Then he'd be fine for years and then another tiny cut. He loved my Father and when my Father died he got sick and died from a heart attack a week

My little gift Cash who is FeLV +

9 mths ago I had a friend who was befriending a kitten. This kitten was a stray & had several siblings & a mother who neglected him. So he asked us if we could take him. So we did. We took him to the vet for his first visit in Dec. He was 2 mths old. Well I was very sad to find out about his FeLv. I had never heard of this before. He was only our 2nd cat. So we named him Cash after the man in black. He only gets the best food to keep well we feed him Royal Canin wet & dry and he seems to be doing well. He is 11 mths now and growing. His coat is shiny & he is full of energy you can't tell anything is wrong with him. He got retested mths ago and still had the virus so we know it's for certain. The only heartbreaking thing is that we have had to keep him seperated from our other cat Nugget. They love to play with each other but, now can't ever since we found out. He is a playful boy full of energy and life. We do hate to have to keep him from his half-sister. He is our special little guy

2 ears old cat

My female cat is diagnosed with FIV. Her health is decline where she's been experiencing constipation, fever, coughing and flue 4 months ago. The doctor prescribed an immune booster to improve her health. I hope that she will have a long life because she is the first cat i had. Love her so much
—Guest Ira
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