I am a foster parent for a cat rescue and am
currently fostering an FIV-positive cat. Our
philosophy is that FIV-positive cats can live
happy and healthy lives with proper care and we do not need to resort to euthanasia.
The problem lies in the misperception of FIV in the cat community.
Many people, some vets included, believe we should
euthanize FIV-positive cats and should not adopt
them out. I hope you can write an article to help
educate the Catster community about FIV.
Frankly Lily, I couldn’t have said it better than you.
Infection with FIV, also known as feline AIDS, is not a valid reason to euthanize a cat. Many FIV-positive cats lead normal, healthy lives. A large proportion of these cats ultimately die of unrelated causes.
FIV, like human AIDS, is not highly contagious. It is spread by fighting. And, like human AIDS, FIV does not cause illness or death on its own. FIV weakens the immune system. This predisposes cats to infections and certain cancers.
Sadly, there is no effective treatment for FIV. Nonetheless, most FIV-positive cats live for many years before their immune systems are clinically affected.
FIV-positive cats have special needs. They should be kept indoors. This prevents the virus from spreading, and it protects infected cats from many types of wounds and infections. Also, FIV-positive cats may require more aggressive treatment for minor injuries or infections.
However, with proper care FIV-positive cats can lead long, happy lives.
Finally, I should point out that routine screening tests for FIV are not perfect. They sometimes falsely identify uninfected cats FIV-positive. Until a positive result has been confirmed by a more rigorous method it cannot be considered definitive. And it certainly isn’t a good reason to euthanize a cat.