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Readers Respond: Living with a FIV or FELV positive cat

Responses: 49

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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.

Share your story

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

FIV

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

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

Recently trapped fiv cat at feral colony

A stray cat showed up at a feral colony I manage. Trapped him and got him neutered. He was not feral. Just a stray looking for food. Found our he is FIV positive. He had an upper respiratory infection. Had that treated and got all his shots up to date. I am fostering him and hoping to find him a good permanent home. He is a wonderful cat and I will keep him always until he finds his forever home. I would never euthanize a cat for being fiv.
—Guest Lana Rollins

My FIV Cat is so sweet and affectionate!

My friend gave me an FIV cat 6 years ago. At the time, the Vet said he was 5 or 6 years old. Now in 2013, my cat is approximately 10-11 years old. He has had maybe 2 Urine infections, but otherwise is healthy, as far as I can tell. He is a bit on the heavy side and is super affectionate to any one that visits me. He almost immediately jumps on any guests lap that visits me! He sleeps with me at night. And will lay on my tummy if I am laying in the couch. He loves to cuddle! All the time. He never met a stranger, he is not afraid of people or strangers. He loves attention. He sleeps by my head at night and always ready to cuddle. He comes to me if I call him to sit with me on the couch, and he is on the floor. He eats well and loves cold-refrigerated water. Doesn't like canned soft food or cat treats. Just dry food. He is so friendly & affectionate, I think he used to be a person in a past life!!!! I don't even believe in past lifes, but my cat is pretty convincing!! Sweetest cat ever.
—Guest Tootles

Gios mom

If your vet suggests euthanasia due to FIV, get a new vet. My Giorgio is 5, diagnosed at 1. Our vet taught me to give IV for fluids. Had to remove his teeth. A steroid shot every six weeks. He is doing GREAT! His life is due to a wonderful cat loving vet. My other 3 cats are also fine. Jealous when he gets special food, but otherwise we are good. 5 years and hopefully many more. FIV is NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.
—Guest Diane

my FIV/FELV MR. Daisy

I've had Mr. Daisy for 11 months. He was a gift from my boss. He was just the most adorable cat I've ever laid my eyes on and I am not a cat person but I knew my mind changed when I got him. I've always kept him inside has a kitten due to the fact I've always been worried he would have gotten lost stolen killed etc. But has he got older I decided to let him out he was such a outdoor cat he would lay under our tree and chase birds such a energetic cat. Until he started feeling sick and not Eating or drinking nor nothing so I Took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with FeLV and FIV with a fever of 106. I was so devastated. The doctor wanted to euthanize him. But I clearly said no. He's only 11 month barley even 1 yr old. The doctors only give him 3 yrs but my sweet baby is active has ever he still does a lot of the things he use to do but not has much. But ill make sure I give him the best 3 years he deserves or more(: I love you my little furball.
—Guest Jackie

Keep the faith

I had a ginger tabby male kitty, Thomas. I got him from a shelter when he was about 6 months old. When he was about 3 years old, he was diagnosed FIV pos. Vet said he would probably not live to 5 years old. He was very sick and I was feeding him protein and water with syringe. Was going to take him to be put down one Sat morn, but he came up to my bed meowing wanting food. I fed him real cat food for the first time in weeks and he never stopped eating until he died at 15 years old. I still miss him. Best cat I ever had.
—Guest DJ

worried but hopeful

My sweet Furious recently became extremely sick so we went to the Vet and tested positive for FIV. The Vet gave me the options and I have struggled all weekend. I am not ready to give up on him! Thanks to these positive posts I now have a little more hope. Calling Vet with questions about better meds and food recomendations in the morning. Fingers crossed and praying for my baby.
—Guest a Martin

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Living with a FIV or FELV positive cat

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