Research confirms it! FIV cats can live with other cats without infecting them.
Finally. It’s official. FIV cats can live with other cats and not infect them.
Veterinarian Annette L. Litster of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, studied more than 100 cats who were in rescue group shelters. The cats were not in cages but lived together in a group home setting. Her research was published in a recent issue of Veterinary Journal.
Litster initially tested 138 cohabiting cats with Rescue Group One. At the time, eight of the cats tested positive for FIV. The others were all negative. When she did a second test 28 months later, the 45 negative cats who were still there were still negative. She got the same results 38 months after the first tests. By then, all but four of the negative cats and seven of the eight positive cats had been adopted.
“These results show a lack of evidence of FIV transmission, despite years of exposure to naturally-infected, FIV-positive cats in a mixed household,” she wrote.
Now if veterinarians will just read the study and believe it.
FIV Should Not Be A Death Sentence
Every year, thousands of cats die in “shelters” because they test positive for FIV. Thousands more are forced to live strictly indoors, separated from the other cats in their household because of a positive test result.
But the tests done in vets’ offices often return false positives. And FIV is pretty much a non-issue anyway. It’s transmitted from cat to cat only by repeated deep bite wounds. So a positive cat who doesn’t fight can share food and water bowls and litter boxes with a negative cat and groom him and cuddle with him and never make his buddy sick.
The study confirms what many of us have known all along. What some of us didn’t know, though, was that mother cats don’t pass FIV on to their kittens. Litster also tested five positive mother cats at a second rescue. None of their 19 kittens tested positive for FIV.
FIV Is Not Feline AIDS
One of the cruelest myths about FIV is that it’s Feline AIDS. Like human HIV, it’s a lentivirus, but that’s about where the similarity ends. It progresses very slowly. And while your FIV cat may someday develop AIDS symptoms, he’s likely to die of old age long before those symptoms even begin to occur.
In the meantime, living with an FIV cat is pretty much like living with any other cat. My FIV cat, Hoss, lived into his 20s! He was my close friend and spirit guide, and I still miss him.