Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

This virus is spread mainly by bite wounds, not by casual contact (similar to HIV in humans). *Note- FIV is not transmissible to dogs or humans. Symptoms may develop 6-8 weeks after infection, however, many cats live normal lives for years before any signs of illness are noted. Infected cats may develop a fever and leukopenia (low white blood cell count) as well as neurologic signs. Kittens should be tested for FIV (although vaccination is uncommon) since infected cats will have an altered immune system making them more susceptible to other diseases and will be carriers that can infect other cats. However, it is possible for maternal antibodies that are passed to the kitten from its mother could affect the test. If the initial test is positive, the kitten should be rechecked in a few months, as the initial result could have been false due to maternal antibodies. The best way to protect your kitten or cat from this infection is to keep them strictly indoors, particularly if there are known feral cats in the area or your cat has a tendency to get into fights.