Number of FIV+ cats adopted, so far = 29
(includes cats placed while volunteering before founding Lifeline Adoptions Inc)
FIV - FACTS, NOT MYTHS
First identified in 1986, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a lentivirus in the retroviral family that can depress or compromise a cat’s immune system. Sometimes referred to as “Cat AIDS,” the virus is species specific and is transferred only between cats. The primary modes of transmission are deep bite wounds and mother to kitten during gestation.
FIV is considered very difficult to transmit, due to the depth of bite (usually only seen in ferals or strays, fighting for territory, food or mates.) Furthermore, there needs to be sufficient quantity of the virus. There is also a delineation between being exposed to the virus, i.e., having antibodies, and having the virus itself. Many kittens who were exposed prenatally, are able to shake the virus which is why it's necessary to re-test at 3 months and 6 months. We have seen cats as old as a year who have reverted from FIV+ to negative. Infection rates vary greatly by geography, but it is estimated that approximately 2.5% of owned or kept cats and up to 23% of stray and feral cats in the United States are FIV+.
Historically, FIV+ cats were summarily euthanized, due to contagion myths and phobias leading to viewing these cats as un-adoptable. But with continued research and adoption experiences, the facts are becoming steadily clearer. FIV positive cats can lead long healthy lives, as has been the trend in certain milieus and veterinarians and rescue folks have increasingly been seeing. For example, in 2015 Love and Hope Sanctuary in Franklin, NY, began phasing out its FIV specific section because of demonstrated long lives and high adoptability of these cats. This is due to trends inside the shelter of FIV cats living since their formation of the Santuary, thriving and healthy.
With good nutrition, low stress, supplements and loving care, FIV+ cats can remain asymptotic and healthy as long as uninfected cats, who might develop diseases as part of their natural aging and biological morphology. Strangely, we have observed the occurrence of cancer in FIV negative cats at disturbing rates juxtaposed to the high number of FIV+ cats adopted out that still remain asymptomatic.
Contrary to the belief of many, FIV+ cats can be intermingled with uninfected cats. Lifeline Adoptions has adopted out the majority of its FIV+ cats into mixed households, without a single incident of transmission of the virus. We do urge anyone considering adopting a FIV cat from anyone other then us, to do their research, talk with us, or a knowledgeable vet and follow safe proven methods. For example, what is the temperament of your current cat or cats? Are you thoroughly examining the history of each cat and assessing current living circumstances? It also cannot be overstated, how important it is to follow KNOWN techniques and methods of introduction of a new cat into environment with current cats. Minimally, introduction should take at least a week, meaning, it should take that long for the new cat to be fully interacting. Of course, it can be sooner depending on a number of variables. But this should be the template for adjusting new cats into households. See our page on Helping Cats Adjust.
At present there are no cures, but some studies point to the possible efficacy of anti-retroviral therapies (having demonstrated decreasing FIV viral loads), albeit these are cost prohibitive for the average person. There are some promising immune-boosting products available currently that include Super C, L-Lysine, and Colloidal Silver. Important to note is that Colloidal Silver has made a comeback in the last decade as evidenced by hundreds of empirical studies and research experiments, revealing that CS is capable of destroying certain strains of HIV. Although this cannot be scientifically generalized to FIV, it does lend credibility to the potential of using CS to fight FIV. Currently, Lifeline Adoptions is using CS on all of our FIV+ cats and will measure white blood counts compared to pre-administration of CS at nine-month intervals. Additionally, studies are taking place to establish the efficacy of a drug known as T-Cyte, considered to be curative as well as prophylactic.
Discussion of FIV and Non FIV Living Together Study Done < click to read
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