There is a great deal of misinformation around about FIV and FeLV. These pages help you find out the facts.
- Both FIV & FeLV are retroviruses.
- Neither FIV nor FeLV presents any risk to humans.
- In both cases unneutered male cats are most at risk.
- Initial test results are not always reliable, and life or death decisions should never be made based only on a single test. Reliability issues differ depending on whether FIV or FeLV is in question and what kind of test is being used.
- With FeLV, any recently exposed cats who test positive may subsequently clear the infection successfully, so a second test at least 12 weeks after the first is necessary for a long-term positive diagnosis.
- Animal Advocacy does not support testing feral cats for FIV/FeLV
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
from Blue Cross
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a condition similar to the virus that causes AIDS in people, although there is no risk of people catching AIDS from infected cats. It infects the white blood cells of the immune system, killing or damaging them. A healthy immune system is needed to fight infections and monitor for cancer in the body; so infected cats have a greater risk of disease and infection from other viruses and bacteria.
Once a cat is infected, then infection is permanent. Just as in human HIV infection, carriers of FIV may show no symptoms of the disease for years.
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)
from Cats Protection
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is a virus that causes fatal diseases in cats by affecting the immune system. It can cause vulnerability to other infections, anaemias and tumours. It does not infect humans.