Categories: viruses

Feline Foamy Virus (FeFV) – high levels across the USA

FFV affects pumas and domestic cats and is highly prevalent. Photo (modified) JAVMA.

As a concerned cat owner, have you heard of feline foamy virus (FFV or FeFV)? It is not listed in the excellent Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook and yet the AVMA in their online journal recently say that it is present in a high proportion of domestic cats. For example 64% of domestic cats in eight shelters have it in some US states. It is called a Spumavirus and it is a retrovirus.

To measure how widespread it is scientists use the word ‘seroprevalence’ which means the existence of the disease as evidenced by its presence in the cat’s blood (blood serum). I’ll presume that this refers to the existence of antibodies against the disease in the blood.

This is what Katie Burns wrote on Feb 12 2020 in JAVMA News:

Among domestic cats admitted to shelters because of nonowner surrender or that were involved in trap-neuter-return programs, the FFV seroprevalence was 75.0% in Southern California, 52.4% in Colorado, and 41.9% in Florida. Among pumas, the FFV seroprevalence was 69.1% in Southern California, 77.3% in Colorado, and 83.5% in Florida.

So FFV is everywhere in the domestic cat population. And it also infects mountain lions to the same level (78.6% of pumas in three states). There is transmission of the virus between domestic/feral cats and mountain lions. Transmission between domestic cats is said to be through ‘intimate social contact’ and less commonly aggressive behaviour i.e. biting.

So what the hell is it? Well, it seems that the reason why we don’t hear about it is because there are no symptoms of illness but I think this is work in progress. It is said to be ‘apathogenic’ meaning not pathogenic i.e. not capable of causing disease. So the virus is simply present in the body with no effect. Is that correct? It sounds odd that a disease does not cause disease!

However, the virus is still ‘poorly understood’. Can it work in conjunction with well know viruses such as FIV and FeLV and make them worse?

A study published in May 2008 on says that cats show no outward symptoms of disease but that an examination of the kidney and lung tissues of the cats by microscope showed changes. The researchers said that more work was needed to assess the significance of the finding.

It was referred to in a study as long ago as 1999. That study said that in domestic cats over 9-years-of-age it was present in over 70% of them. FFV seems to have been under the radar of concerned cat guardians. I sounds a bit like toxoplasmosis in terms of it’s asymptomatic behavior. But the question is whether FFV does have an impact on domestic cat health in hidden way.

Sources: JAVMA, 2 studies and dictionaries.


New feline viral disease discovered in Vancouver

VANCOUVER: Veterinarians and scientists have decided that a brand-new feline disease has become evident at the SPCA's animal centre in ...
Read More

WSAVA says cats should be kept indoors until coronavirus peters out

This advice by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) applies to any country. Dr Michael Lappin the chairman of ...
Read More

Vet explains basic difference between FeLV and FIV (audio)

Dr. Diane Delmain of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine explains the basic differences in an interview by WLTZ First ...
Read More

Can I catch a cold from my cat?

Can I catch a cold from my cat? No, you can't. Most infectious diseases are species-specific. They only affect a ...
Read More

How do indoor cats get colds?

Full-time indoor cats can get colds because the virus that produces the cold can get inside the house where the ...
Read More

Feline panleukopenia puts hundreds of cats from Central California SPCA at risk including at PetSmart

Hundreds of kittens and cats that have passed through the Central California SPCA (some to PetSmart) are at risk of ...
Read More

Animal Adoption Centre and Animal Shelter Screw Up Resulting in the Death of 12 Cats

An animal adoption centre failed on this occasion to vaccinate the cats at their centre. They imported, from a rural ...
Read More
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

Do lions lose their teeth?

Yes, lions do sometimes lose some of their teeth as this excellent photograph by Ernest Porter shows. It was taken…

3 hours ago

Wonder cats: Trained to speed dial 911

This is the story of Tommy, a red tabby cat who lived (and may still live) with a guy called…

7 hours ago

Evidence that wildcats lived with humans in Poland 7,000 years ago

This story confirms, in my view, that semi-domesticated wildcats travelled with migrants from the Eastern Mediterranean to other parts of…

8 hours ago

Red Alert: Urgent Cats of Tampa Bay

Rescue or Adopter Needed! Urgent Rescue Plea!!! Because of being in vet services Rosemary can be euthanized at any time…

22 hours ago

What is a tabby cat?

A tabby cat can be any one of the following: a random bred domestic cat, a feral cat, a stray…

22 hours ago

Ten domestic cats mysteriously and illegally relocated to stately home near Wigan

NEW AND VIEWS - WIGAN, UK: It is reported that 10 cats have vanished from a neighbourhood of Wigan over…

1 day ago