Click here to see visitors’ submissions

The is Miss Petunia who was adopted


I just rescued a cat which the vet says is about 1 year old. When he performed the FeLV test it came back positive. I was determined to adopt this cat which I named Tabitha (she’s a tortoise shell) and asked him to continue with his routine check up.

She was spayed and she is recovering nicely. She also had a bad case of ear mites for which she has drops for 14 days but she is still shaking and wanting to scratch.

Before her diagnosis she had scratched one side of her face raw.  I have been applying polysporin and with the ear drops I hope she will find some relief soon. She is still wearing the protective cone which I know she dislikes.

I have two other cats which I will now need to have tested for this virus. In the meantime while Tabitha is healing, she is in isolation in a room apart from the other cats.

With time hopefully she will be able to have access to the entire house. My goal is to make her life as comfortable as possible.


What are adoptable FeLV cats, exactly?

Lets look at the disease first.Feline leukemia virus (FELV or feline leukemia) was first described by W. Jarret in 1964 at the University of Glasgow. There is very good evidence that this virus is quite ancient. It may have evolved over the last 10,000,000 years.

It is a retrovirus. A accurate explanation of ‘retrovirus’ is beyond the purpose of this article. However, if you want to read more try Wikipedia. An example of a retrovirus in humans is AIDS. FeLV can be beaten by the cat’s immune system. If not, it can kill. There is no cure.

How do cats get FeLV?

FELV is released from the body and transmitted between infected cats usually by transfer of saliva and/or nasal secretions when e.g. eating from the same bowl or, less often, through urine, faeces, and milk from infected cats. Lots of evidence tells us it can’t be transmitted to humans or dogs from cats.

Examples of when transmission takes place:

  • bite wound
  • mutual grooming
  • shared litter box
  • shared feeding
  • mother to kittens before and after birth

Evidence tells us that kittens under 4 months of age get it more easily. By 8 months of age they are more able to beat the virus. So, keeping young kittens indoors will help stop transmission to the kitten.

How many cats are infected?

About 0.5% of pet cats are infected with FeLV (source Wikipedia). The Berkeley East Bay Humane Society says that 3% are infected in the USA. As there are about 7.7 million pet cats in the UK that makes about 385,000 with FeLV. More than 35% of pet cats have been exposed to FeLV but the cat’s immune system has successfully dealt with it (prevented it progressing and made the cat immune to it).

What does FELV do to the cat?

It suppresses the immune system (the cats inbuilt system to fight disease is weakened) in the same way as AIDS in humans. The symptoms include:

  • generally feeling unwell
  • blood in the stool
  • recurring infections
  • decreased appetite
  • decreased stamina
  • depression
  • excessive drinking and urinating
  • low grade fever
  • jaundice (yellowing skin and white of eyes)

How is it diagnosed?

There are 2 tests (this page expands significantly on these tests):

  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
  • immunofluorescence assay (IFA) also called the Hardy, or slide test

The immune system fights it, but how does this fight progress?

  • after 16-18 weeks into the disease, about 40% of cats kill off the virus – of these 16% fight it off after minimal exposure and 24% later on in the disease.
  • about 20% of cats keep the virus in check (these are adoptable FeLV cats) until the cat becomes stressed when the virus can emerge.
  • about 30% die having had the disease from start to finish (by my calculation this means 115,500 die of the disease – some die within a few months while some have no symptoms for up to 4 years (these are adoptable FeLV cats).
  • death is caused by cancer of the blood or bone marrow (leukemia), cancer, or a failure of the bone marrow to respond to the increased need for red blood cells (red blood cells carry oxygen around the body).
  • The Berkeley East Bay Humane Society says FeLV cats can live from months to years after being diagnosed. 80 to 90% of infected cats die within 3.5 yrs of being diagnosed.

What medicines are there?

There is no cure and no medicines to relieve symptom. Vaccines are available but it is not clear how good they are.

Adoptable FeLV cats

As mentioned the adoptable FeLV cats are those who have the disease but the disease has not lead to symptoms that are immediately life threatening. In many cases, FeLV positive cats can lead a comfortable life through the combined efforts of the owner and veterinarian. This means that they are adoptable FeLV cats.

How do I go about adopting adoptable FeLV cats?

Here are some links to websites that help make arrangements to adopt these vulnerable animals that need genuine love and care. Bemikitties is a website which sets out to help cats (a fine and true goal) and who operate a classified adverts section where people can post and advert for the re-homing of adoptable FeLV cats. They provide good advice as well. It is USA based.

Another USA based adoption website for cats is Pets with Disabilities . It posts classified adverts and rehouses pets with various disabilities including adoptable FelV cats. It is based about 50km from Washington.

Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is a NorthWest Pacific cat shelter, situated 20 miles south of Portland USA.

After a considerable search I failed to find a UK website where people with adoptable FELV cats can post an advertisement. Although I am sure there are some out there.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

FeLV Positive Adoptable Cats
FeLV positive adoptable cats, especially those in shelters, more often than not have a poor chance of adoption due to the nature of the disease. This doesn’…

Sweet female FeLV positive cat for adoption
I have 4 cats and yesterday I rescued another sweet beautiful girl that we wanted to keep.I kept her separate from my guys and took her to my vet …

Super sweet, highly adoptable cat named Randy in PA
I work at the Montgomery County SPCA in Pennsylvania and we have a FeLV cat here who is super friendly, about 2 years of age and just needs a good home….

Hope and Faith were born in a high kill shelter to their FeLv+ mommy. Sadly, the shelter euthanized mommy but we felt that we owed it to her and her babies …

— HANDSOME & AVAILABLE!! — Wilbur is SO ready for his furever home & talk about a love bug. Wilbur is a FeLV positive kitty that lives in the Calmar …

Adorable 8-month old FeLV exposed kitten needs home
Adorable, happy, sweet 8-month-old male kitten in need of a loving home. Stray kitten found lounging at my apartment building on September 15th. My …

Claude is an adoptable FeLV cat needing a home
I rescued Claude about two weeks ago, brought him home and immediately had him vaccinated. Then I scheduled him to be neutered, the vet called me and …

I have an adoptable FeLV 4 month old kitten named Stevie
I have a history of rescuing and helping animals. A woman who owns the Popeyes Restaurant in Linden, New Jersey found little Stevie in the parking lot …

Darryl Bobtail, a FeLV-positive cat
I’m a volunteer with Towncats in Santa Clara County, California. Mostly I do TNR and cover food and medical expenses for feral cats and their kittens. My …

FeLV Kitty Needs Help
My name is Carla Roman. Myself and my partner Kirby Seidler run a cat rescue in Edmonton Ab. SAFE Team (Saving Animals From Euthanasia) has been in operation …

Norm, the sweetest FeLV+ kitty, needs a home
Norm was found on the streets of Baltimore City. From the start he was shy but friendly, eventually growing into quite the lovable sweetie he is now. He …

KS-Friendly, loving, intelligent stray, FLV+ needs home
I have a house cat, and cannot keep this appx 2 year old male (neutered) stray. Over this summer, Tommy became more friendly, eventually coming to me,…

1 yr old sweet male cat needs a home or long term fostering!
Hello…..My name is Alissa and about a week ago I took in a stray cat I found wandering in a seedy area of the city (Philadelphia) so I took him home …

Two FeLV cats without symptoms – Franklin County, PA
We have two cats without symptoms available for adoption in Waynesboro, PA. We have other cats, so we can’t keep these two cats, though they are sweet,…

“Munchkin” Needs A Home
We live in western pa. This tiny kitten showed up on our doorstep one night. We brought her in and lived with her for a month while we waited to go to …

Cat A Do Cat Co-op
If you are an individual who needs a play mate for your FELV positive cat or you are an individual willing to adopt an FELV positive cat then Cat A Do …

Sampson An Adoptable FeLV Positive Cat
This is Marcia from Brown County Humane Society. Last July Sampson was found as a stray kitten and brought to the shelter. He tested FeLV+/FIV-. We …

HEALTHY Felv Kitties looking for their FOREVER HOMES
BEAUTIFUL BOMBAY AND RUSSIAN BLUE KITTIES — Location: Mesa, AZ — Momma was an indoor kitty abandoned by someone and found in a neighbors yard along …

Urgent! Very Sweet Mickey Needs a Home
Mickey needs a home. Mickey was brought to us by his homeless guardian. She could no longer care for him. So we took him to the doctor. We had him neutered,…

2 FeLV Kittens in Need of a Home
Pie and Puff were pulled out of an animal shelter before they could be euthanized. They are 3 month old brothers, and they adore each other, people, food,…

The Humane Society Binghamton New York
Hello….We have a really sweet mother cat with 4 young kittens. Unfortunately, our policy is to euthanize all positive cats. Thankfully, we do not see …

Little Karim Needs a Home and Playmate!
I work with Anjellicle Cats Rescue in NYC, and man the organization’s 24-hour hotline. On May 28, 2009, I responded to a call about a very friendly mother …

Adoptable FeLV Kitten Lovely Miss Petunia
Hi, my name is Wendy and I am a Vet. tech at an animal hospital in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Petunia was brought in to our hospital recently by a young …

Aethon Needs a Permanent Home Not rated yet
We recently found a young (~8-9 month) male cat trying to eat in the dumpster at my friend’s apartment complex. She has 2 cats and a strict apartment so …

Noel was brought into our hosptial by a good Samaritan who saw that she was injured. She had her collar embedded into her. She does not need surgery, just …

Miiko — A Sunset Park Kitten Not rated yet
On August 17, 2011 at around 8pm my husband, Lorin, went for a walk to get take-out. As he walked down our street he noticed two little boys pointing …

Healthy, spayed, vaccinated, very affectionate 7month old FELV+ kitten needs home. Not rated yet
We moved to Pueblo last August. Shortly after we got settled in, we started noticing a neighborhood stray cat with a litter of 3 or 4 kittens. We saw them …

Judy, sweet San Antonio FeLV + Rescue Kitty, looking for a home! Not rated yet
Judy is a sweet little girl, born 3/30/2010, who has tested positive for Feline Leukemia twice after being taken into a foster home for Homes For Pets,…

Three beautiful FeLV positive kitties need new home Not rated yet
I have three beautiful kitties who have tested FeLV positive, a mother and two kittens approximately 6 months old. I have 3 other cats in the house …

Special Little Guy Needs Home Not rated yet
Little Guy is a stray we intended to adopt. However, he tested positive for FeLV and, although we love him, we cannot keep him due to our other 4 cats….

Precious SPECIAL-NEEDS Feline for a Forever Home Not rated yet
Pepper is a lovely, feisty, and energetic black-and-white, domestic American Short-hair of whom would make a great addition to an attentive and loving …

Wisp Needs A Home! Not rated yet
Wisp is a Feline Leukemia positive kitten about 5-6 months old who was found in an unincorporated area of Ventura County right after Christmas by a lady …

I have used the following sources for information and pictures:

  • Wikipedia (90% came from this information source)
  • Animal Health Channel
  • Berkeley East Bay Humane Society (USA figures)
  • A Dutch Animal Clinic Dierenkliniek Wilhelminapark, Utrect (photograph of the cat’s eye).

Return from Adoptable FeLV cats to the Home page

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Wildcat hybrids were created to bring us closer to nature but we are going in the opposite direction

The people who created wildcat hybrids such as Jean Mill (the Bengal cat) and Paul…

2 hours ago

Citizens’ demand for freedom of choice undermines the quality of cat caregiving

I believe that with respect to cat ownership there should be a nanny state in…

4 hours ago

Cat heatstroke more likely during these global warming years

I think there is global warming. The signs are there. Heatstroke is not something you…

12 hours ago

Savannah cat TICA best of breed 2014-2015

The reason why I like this cat, and I guess why she/he won the best…

16 hours ago

The inherited feeding behavior of domestic and feral cats as wild cats

Domestic cats are included as their hunting behavior when allowed to be expressed is exactly…

17 hours ago

What do big cats smell like?

This is a slightly bizarre but also interesting question thrown up by a Google search.…

1 day ago