FIV is a virus that affects a cat’s immune system over a period of years.
FIV is a cat-only disease and cannot be spread to humans or other animals.
FIV-positive cats may live long, healthy, normal lives with little or no symptoms.
FIV is not easily passed between cats. It cannot be spread casually, as in sharing litter boxes, food and water bowls, a scratch with a claw, or when snuggling or playing. It is rarely spread from a mother to her kittens.
The FIV virus can only be spread through blood transfusions, badly infected gums, or serious penetrating bite wounds (saliva to blood). Bite wounds of this kind are rare, except in free-roaming, unneutered tomcats.
FIV-positive cats should be kept as healthy as possible. Keeping them indoors-only (if possible – not imperative) and free from stress goes a long way to help keep a cat symptom-free. Feed a high-quality diet, and treat any secondary problems as soon as they appear.
The presence of the FIV virus should NOT be an adoption deterrent. However, extra thought should be given to the cat’s potential feline companions.