How does a cat with FIV differ in character from a healthy cat?
There is no such thing, and here is the answer.
FIV-positive cats still require the same amount of love and care as non-HIV cats, despite their unique medical requirements. Their longevity is about the same as that of other cats, so you can still count on a lifetime of love and cuddles.
Adoptable cats infected with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) may face longer adoption wait times than healthy cats. Perhaps if we can dispel some of the myths around their treatment, we can alter this.
What is FIV?
The “Feline Immunodeficiency Virus,” or FIV, is present in cats all around the world. Cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are more susceptible to sickness because the virus weakens their immune system. Cats with FIV will have a more difficult time recovering from sickness. The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is not the “cat form of HIV” and cannot be transmitted from cats to humans, despite widespread misconception to the contrary.
It’s not even simple to spread from one cat to another. Kittens in utero are susceptible to infection, and while the virus can be spread through a mother’s milk or other bodily fluids, a bite wound is the most common route of transmission.
What are the symptoms and how is FIV diagnosed?
Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step in treating FIV. Recognizing Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) can be challenging because not all infected cats exhibit obvious symptoms. A cat may not show any signs of infection for months or even years while the virus is latent in its system.
FIV vaccine prevention was available in North America until quite recently, adding further complexity to the situation. An otherwise healthy, vaccinated cat could give a false positive on a blood test if it was adopted by a family who didn’t have access to the cat’s immunization history.
The need of regular veterinary care for your cat cannot be overstated. A simple blood test can detect FIV, but your veterinarian will also consider your cat’s symptoms, risk factors (such as spending time outdoors), and medical history to make a definitive diagnosis. If your cat is tested negative, your veterinarian can advise you on how often to retest according on how high an exposure risk they think your cat has.
You may also see additional symptoms, such as:
- Slimming down
- Transformations in Diet
- Alterations in the mouth, such as a poor taste in the mouth, pale gums, or oral disease
- Irritated or watery eyes
- Nasal discharge.
It’s important to make sure your current cats aren’t exposed to any diseases by bringing in a new cat or kitten. If your cat has been exposed, you should get him or her tested right away and again 60 days later. A positive result may not require any immediate changes to your cat’s treatment, but it will allow you and your vet to monitor your cat’s symptoms and intervene with supportive care as soon as necessary.
My cat tested positive. Now what?
There is no need to freak out if your cat tests positive for FIV. All nine of my FIV+ cats have had long, healthy lives because to the advances in veterinary care and my careful attention to their needs. With the knowledge that your cat has FIV, you can take the following measures to ensure its continued health and happiness:
- Keep an eye out for physical changes like gaining or losing weight.
- If they haven’t already, spay or neuter them.
- In the meantime, keep checking for parasites.
- Lock them up!
- Keep a close eye on their mouth, gums, teeth, and lymph nodes for any signs of alteration.
- Consult your vet about the most appropriate vaccinations.
- Get your blood checked once a year to keep tabs on your organs and your blood’s oxygen level.
- Keep an eye on your hydration by measuring capillary refill time, skin tenting, and the specific gravity of your urine.
- Check the heart’s health with these diagnostic procedures.
- The less stress your cat is under, the better (do so by providing access to food, water, clean litter box and enrichment)
- Make sure your cat is getting a healthy, commercially prepared diet (no raw diets for these kitties, as raw food could contain bacteria that they are more susceptible to)
- Use a monthly parasite preventive on them.
Importantly, studies conducted over the past decade have shown that feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) positive cats have the same life expectancy as non-infected cats. They seldom die of FIV-related causes and usually just die of old age.
Can FIV cats live with other cats? Is it contagious?
One of the most widespread myths about feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is that an infected cat cannot coexist peacefully with uninfected cats. Although there are precautions that can be taken to lessen the risk of transmission, FIV-positive cats should not be quarantined from living with other felines.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is typically spread from one cat to another through bite wounds. Recent research has shown that the likelihood of transmission through any other methods is quite low, so there is little need for concern if your cats can coexist peacefully and avoid fighting at home.
There is a little risk of transmission from non-bite contact, but FIV can survive in an environment for a few hours, so it’s important to take the necessary procedures to disinfect before bringing a new cat into a home with a FIV cat. That you can disinfect any hard surface, from litter boxes to dishes, with bleach solution (diluted at 4 ounces per gallon of water). In order to protect your current cat population from potential disease exposure, it is recommended that any new cats entering your home be vaccinated against common feline infectious diseases. It’s best to be methodical and proactive.
Can FIV be transmitted to humans?
The subject of whether or not animals other than monkeys can catch FIV is a prevalent one. The short answer is “NO.” Neither you nor any of your non-feline pets need to worry about contracting the sickness because it cannot be transmitted between species.
Is there a vtheccine to prevent FIV?
Protective vaccinations against FIV have been developed thanks to scientific developments, but these vaccines are not without their drawbacks. Both the United States and Canada have pulled the vaccine from sale. It is not yet recommended that everyone get a FIV immunization. Vaccination can increase the risk of developing several types of cancer, and it may also compromise the reliability of future FIV-testing. Even vaccinated cats can be at risk of contracting some strains of the virus.
Why should I consider FIV cat adoption?
There is a great sense of satisfaction in adopting a feline with FIV. In the end, a feline with FIV is no different from any other beloved cat. With a caring owner, they can enjoy a long and happy life and give an incredible amount of affection, just like any other cat. People who care for FIV-positive cats often say their felines are even sweeter and more devoted than average. Despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, this highlights the deep emotional connection shared between FIV-positive cats and their human caregivers.
Unfortunately, many people have false beliefs about FIV-positive cats, which means they often sit in shelters for far longer than other cats. You’re helping animal shelters save money when you adopt one. It’s a win-win situation if you can adopt a cat with FIV since they adore you no matter what!
Wondering about how to Get the Most Out of Your Cats Vet Visit? Check it out on our lastest post!