I Have An FIV Positive Cat

by Elisa Black-Taylor

Tom playing
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Tom playing

Tom playing Tom relaxing on the dryer Tom and Misty (declawed) Our beautiful Tom

I have an FIV positive cat and his name is Tom.

This week marks his one year anniversary of leaving death row at the shelter in Greenville, SC where I do rescue. To date he hasn't had so much as even a sniffle!

Tom was originally named Chapman after the road he was found on and turned in as a stray. I saw his shelter photo and fell in love with him. So much so that I went on his rescue mission while there was still an inch of ice left on many of the roads I had to travel to reach him.

The shelter coordinator Andrea gave me the bad news. She came out and told me he had tested negative for FeLV and positive for FIV. She explained an FIV+ cat is usually acceptable by the rescues she deals with as long as the cat is not aggressive.

So I took my boy home and educated myself on the disease. FIV positive cats are very different from those diagnosed as FeLV positive. FIV isn't spread through casual contact. It would take a serious bite for the disease to be contracted.

Tom was an underweight cat when I rescued him. His shelter name was soon changed to Tom after the cat in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. He had a very hardened look to him for several months. Chances are he had to fight other cats as a stray and this was how he became infected.

Tom has always been very loving. The serious expression has lessened in the year he's lived in a loving home. He's even learned how to play. First with a ball and then with a string.

He naps with the other cats and is usually sitting on the couch at mealtime in hopes of a bite of food. He loves squash!

In the beginning I worried he'd be sick a lot, as FIV positive cats have a weakened immune system. We've dealt with everything from panleuk to URI's and Tom is possibly the healthiest cat we have.

It's not a death sentence for a cat to be diagnosed with FIV. And it's not very dangerous to adopt an FIV positive cat. As with cats with FeLV, you just have to be on top of things and see a vet at the first sign of illness.

Tom has found his forever home with us. He's happy here and we don't want to upset the perfect balance we've created for him here. I'm so glad I didn't turn my back on him that day at the shelter. I hope this story will encourage everyone to make room for an FIV + cat in their home.

The collage photo of Tom shows how he's become very relaxed here with us. The bottom photo was made of Tom the day of his rescue and shows the hardened look he'd developed. That look is now gone.

Do any of you have FIV+ cats? Are your cats as healthy as my Tom?


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I Have An FIV Positive Cat

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Jan 20, 2012
3 out of 25
by: Elisa

I've had only 3 out of roughly 25 cats get FeLV and they lived around each other daily. This was back in the late 80's and early 90's. I just did an article on the FeLV+. Just keep up the vaccinations on any other cats and keep your baby full of good food and as little stress as possible and it will make a big difference.

Jan 20, 2012
by: Anonymous

I have a felv kitty , I adopted her not knowing but took her to the vet shortly after to learn she was postive , my heart broke in a million pieces that day . I had already fallen in love with my tilly illy chantilly) and was told she had to be put down because I have a healthy cat and they couldn't be together . She was very sick and weak when I brought her home , I kept her in seperate room , searching for answers on how to take care of her , I couldn't bear to put her to sleep , I searched high and low for a home but everyone rejected her , fortuantly for me ! With my research and coming in contact with amazing people I found I could keep her if I got my other kitty vaccinated and kept them separate for about eight weeks. I started giving her vitamens homemade food and tons of love! She is so happy and playful you wouldn't even know she's sick. She has had my heart for almost a year now and I pray for many more.she is the love of my life ! Tilly and Safron (other kitty) have slowly developed a friendship and safron learned to play and not be so serious. It warms my heart to see them chase each other around the house , its toooooooo cute ! Anyway felv and fiv kitties are worth loving if you just give them a chance , she has changed my life. I have learned so much from her.

Jan 19, 2012
by: Ruth

Elisa you are a star ! How I wish everyone was as kind and as sensible as you are.
Tests are not 100% and it could be that Tom was wrongly labelled FIV positive.
But either way I hope he stays healthy for many more years.

I very much admire you and Laura for all you do for rescue cats.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jan 19, 2012
by: Elisa

He looks serious a lot less now than he used to. He looked down right mean in his first photos. He's very loving and stays on the couch with us most of the time. He has his regular vaccines. He eats healthy food and isn't under stress. He's been around the cats who were sick and it hasn't made him sick. Laura and I have wondered if he could have had a false positive. He was very thin when we rescued him but has a very good apprtite. His favorite cat is Misty.

Jan 19, 2012
by: Michael

He is a handsome and serious looking cat. He looks healthy too.

Does he always have that serious, concerned look?

What is the chance of him developing signs of illness?

2 thoughts on “I Have An FIV Positive Cat”

  1. My cat named is Eli, he has FIV positive. I am so worried about him. I took him to the Vet and Dr. Lowry found out that he had one. He said that it won’t hurt people but cat to cat yes, I noticed that my cat did not want to play with us. Just sleep all day all nights. I am afraid that he might be shortly living. I am scared for losing him. I just have a cat since last week. I took it to vet for declawed, get fixed, dewormed, vaccanies and withdrawn blood tested. It costed me $537.00.


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