Many animal lovers find themselves in the position of fostering or adopting a new kitten into their household unexpectedly. A stray cat outside, a rescue from a friend or a relative or an adorable adoption from the Humane Society are all common and admirable reasons to bring home a new pet, but what about the animals that you already have at home? There are lots of considerations to keep them safe and happy. Today’s topic is Feline Leukemia Virus ( FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
FeLV and FIV are viral infections that can infect any cat. They affect the cat by suppressing the immune system similar to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in people and once contracted a cat is infected for the rest of their lives. Infection occurs through bodily fluids, most commonly from grooming (FeLV) or from fighting (FIV) with infected cats, but also from breeding. Infected animals show a wide variety of signs but importantly can be infected and spread the disease long before looking sick. Some cats can live for years with these viruses and potentially spread them to other cats simply by licking or playing with them.
There is a simple test which can let us know if a cat has been exposed to these two deadly viruses and with a small amount of blood, your vet can tell you if your new kitten or cat is a risk to any other furry family members. We often see new pets weeks or months after they have been brought home and introduced to the other cats in the house and this can pose risk to everyones. If you are thinking of taking in a new cat, please talk to us about vaccinations, de-worming, fleas, litter boxes, behaviour and of course FIV/FeLV testing (along with any other concerns) before you bring them home. We are happy to help make the introduction of a new cat to the home a smooth one.
Here is a link to information on Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions