FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)
This ailment affects the immune system of a cat. FIV lowers the number of white blood cells, which makes a cat less able to fight off an infection. If a cat does contract an infection of some sort, which is far less likely for an indoor-only cat, antibiotics are very effective.
This is a feline-specific virus that is slow to evolve, which means that humans, dogs, and other animals cannot contract FIV. FIV strains in cats living normal, indoor-only lives tend to be more benign and may never cause disease.
It is estimated that about 3% of seemingly healthy cats actually have FIV. While it is impossible to predict the life expectancy of an infected cat, many FIV+ cats can lead normal and lengthy lives (often 15 years of age or more) with appropriate care and diet. Weight loss should be monitored by the owner and a veterinarian, as infections often manifest in noticeable change in weight.
FIV is transferred in utero or through a cat-to-cat bite. As a precaution, we only adopt FIV+ cats as only cats or into a home with another FIV+ cat.