Living with FIV.
Jenna Self – Veterinary Nurse.
Did you know that cats with FIV can often live as long as cats who are not immunocompromised and may never show any signs of FIV related problems? Just because your cat has FIV doesn’t mean they can’t live a long, happy and healthy life. FIV shouldn’t necessarily put you off adopting a new fur friend either, if your circumstances are right.
So, what are the right circumstances for a cat living with FIV? FIV Cats benefit greatly from a fairly stress-free lifestyle. This means it is important they never have to worry about their resources (in other words they should be a completely pampered cat!). Water, bedding, toys, safe places to hide and a clean litter tray should always be available. Their feeding routine should also be consistent. The recommendation for FIV cats is to stay away from homemade diets to reduce the chances of food poisoning. FIV cats should also be strictly indoor cats (or have access to a secure outdoor run) to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other cats.
Stress-free may also include being an only pet or not adopting any new pets. This completely depends on the cat though as cats with FIV can definitely live with other cat pals, as long as they get along. FIV is spread through cat bites, so if your FIV cat is living with a cat they do not get along with they will need to live in separate parts of the house, or you may even have to think about rehoming one of the cats. Veterinary behaviourists do see cats as well as dogs and can help with issues in multi-cat households, so that is always an option.
Another important aspect of living with a cat with FIV is keeping them up to date with medical care, as their immunosuppression makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases. This means regular (generally twice yearly) vet visits and keeping up to date with vaccinations and parasite control. So just because a cat has FIV, doesn’t mean that it is a death sentence. Cats like Muggins (pictured) who lives at Wilde Cat Cottage and fosters kittens in her spare time (9 kittens so far!) can live great lives and make wonderful pets.