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The Reality of FIV

Thursday, August 04, 2016

FIV:  it sounds scary, but what exactly is FIV?  FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, and it is a retrovirus (similar to HIV).  That means it uses the RNA in cells to reproduce.  It is also known as a lentivirus, which means it is a slow virus, that can take months or years to incubate, and is capable of lying dormant in the body before causing any symptoms.

What does FIV do? FIV causes an immunodeficiency in the cat’s body, meaning that the body is not able to create a normal immune response.  Most cats infected with FIV have a normal life expectancy, and do not show symptoms of the disease.  However they are prone to developing infections and certain types of cancer due to their weakened immune system.  Some cats can fight off the infection after they are exposed and become immune, some may become carriers who never get sick themselves, but most commonly they become infected and develop a compromised immune system.

How do cats get FIV? One place the virus lives is in the salivary glands of an infected cat.  FIV is transmitted cat to cat, usually through deep bite wounds, where viral cells can pass from the infected cat’s mouth into the uninfected cat’s blood stream.  There are less common ways of passing the infection on, occasionally it can be passed from mother to kitten in utero, during the birthing process, or when kittens are nursing.  Because of the way it is transmitted, cats infected with FIV can live normal lives in homes with cats who do not have FIV.  

It is extremely unlikely (and may even be impossible, if they are properly introduced) for a cat to contract FIV from being around infected cats, from grooming infected cats, from sharing food bowls, playing with another cat, sharing a litter box, or from secondary contact with a person who has touched an FIV positive cat.  

How is a cat diagnosed with FIV? There is no way to tell that a cat has FIV just from looking at them.  FIV is diagnosed by way of a blood test, which tests for antibodies in the blood stream.  Most veterinary clinics use an in-house test, which is good, but can give false positives on occasion, so if a cat does test positive for FIV, a secondary test is always sent out to a lab to confirm the diagnosis.  Also, kittens can test positive for FIV just from their mother’s antibodies, which may remain in their system for up to 6 months.  This is why a kitten who tests positive for FIV is not considered positive until they are retested once they are over 6 months old.  Another thing to remember is that if you test a cat for FIV who has been outdoors, they may test negative, but still have FIV.  The test is checking for antibodies in the blood stream, and the antibodies may not show up for several months.

What symptoms will a cat with FIV have?   It depends; some cats will show no symptoms, others may show signs, and others may have periods of appearing healthy interspersed with being ill.  Some of the symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, recurrent fever, weight loss, poor coat condition, inflammation of the gums, recurrent infections of the skin, bladder and upper respiratory tract, diarrhea, and behavioral changes.  They are also more prone to get other infections, such as ringworm.  Since all cats react differently, there is no way to tell what signs will appear in an individual cat.

How can FIV be prevented?   The only way to prevent a cat from getting FIV is to keep them from being exposed.  Keeping cats indoors is the best measure of prevention.  An FIV positive cat can live with an FIV negative cat, as long as they do not fight.  There is a vaccine for FIV, but it is not recommended for cats because not only does it have poor efficacy, but any cat who receives the vaccine will test positive for FIV.  Although cats who have FIV live normal lifespans, a cat who is vaccinated and happens to escape their house may well be euthanized at a shelter because they test positive for FIV.

How should a cat who is diagnosed with FIV be cared for?   Cats who are FIV positive can live full and healthy lives, with our help.  They should be kept indoors, so they don’t risk infecting other cats, and to limit their exposure to outside infections.  They should also be spayed or neutered, so they can’t pass the infection to other cats by breeding.  They should eat nutritionally balanced diets, with no raw meat or eggs, or unpasteurized dairy products.  This is because they are at higher risk for food-borne bacterial and parasitic infections from such items.  They should have wellness visits with a veterinarian at least once a year, preferably every 6 months, so that any infection or illness that starts can be caught and treated early, before it overwhelms their immune system.  Be vigilant and notice any changes in an FIV cat’s behavior or attitude, so that any changes that could be a sign of illness are caught and recognized early.

What is the most important thing to know about FIV positive cats?   Know that FIV positive cats are wonderful, playful, social, and loving animals, who deserve the same chance at life and happiness as all other cats.  Having FIV is not the end of a cat's life, it’s just a change.  They can live full lives, chase sparkly balls, eat catnip, and curl up in your arms, because having FIV doesn’t make them less, it only makes us less, when we don’t give them a chance.


Opt to Adopt Barney

Friday, November 06, 2015


Barney is one handsome orange mancat, and he's ready for his forever home!  Barney loves to talk and happily greets everyone who comes to visit him in Meow Mart.  He craves human attention and would do very well in a home where his human can spend a lot of time with him.  Barney enjoys being pet, and he likes playing with his Neko fly and Yeowww! catnip banana.  



Barney lives in Meow Mart because he doesn't like other cats.  He needs to be the only cat in the home.  Barney was on a medical hold for quite a while because he had pancreatitis.  He has made a full recovery.  Due to the stress of living in a shelter environment, he is still taking a steroid, but he may be able to wean completely off of it when he gets into a forever home.  Barney is part of the Perpet-U-Care program, which will cover a portion of his medical expenses for the rest of his life (limitations apply).  

Please stop by Cat Care Society and visit Barney.  He'll gladly tell you all about himself and why he makes the perfect companion.



This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Cat Care Society Volunteer and Professional Blogger. 

Giving Thanks Adoption Promotion

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Thanksgiving is now Cats-Giving at Cat Care During the month of November, every adopter will get to spin the wheel for a reduced adoption fee or free cat stuff! 



When you land on:

  • Red (4 spaces), you'll receive a reduced adoption fee of $60.
  • Purple (2 spaces), you'll receive a free toy from Meow Mart (valued at $5 or less).
  • Light blue (2 spaces), you'll receive a free scratch carpet.
  • Green (2 spaces), you'll receive a free handmade cat mat.
  • Dark blue (1 space), you'll receive a free hard plastic cat carrier.
  • Dark blue (1 space), you'll receive a free 6' beige carpeted cat condo.
  • Yellow (2 spaces), you'll receive a reduced adoption fee of $70.
Additionally, all November adopters can put their name into Benvolio's Box for a chance to win a free New Cat Start-Up Kit, which includes: one litter box, one cat bed, two toys, and two ceramic bowls (valued at $60).  The drawing will take place on November 28th.

You can view our adoptable cats HERE.  Please stop by the shelter to find your perfect kitty companion! 


This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Cat Care Society Volunteer and Professional Blogger.  

Opt to Adopt Bailey and Riley

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Bailey is a very handsome orange and white Domestic Shorthair.  He is incredibly friendly and often greets visitors when they come into his room.  Bailey loves to hang out with his human friends, and he will follow you around until you pet him or give him a belly rub.  He's an outgoing guy and enjoys sitting in laps.




Riley is Bailey's brother.  He is also an orange and white Domestic Shorthair.  Riley is a little shyer than Bailey, but he also loves attention.  Riley likes face rubs and hanging out with his brother as well as his human friends.  Riley has a deformity in one of his front paws where it did not fully develop.  However, he can get around just fine, and he doesn't let this slow him down at all.  

Both cats came to the shelter when their owner became too ill to care for them any longer.  They are very sweet boys who would make great additions to any home.  Bailey and Riley are approximately seven years old.  They get along with their feline roommates and are up-to-date on their vaccinations, litter box trained, and neutered.  They have tested negative for FIV and FeLV.  Bailey and Riley are brothers and best friends and must be adopted together.  

You can find Bailey and Riley in the Orange Room at Cat Care Society.  Please stop by to get to know these awesome cat companions.  

Adoption Special

Bailey and Riley are eligible for our Tails of the REAL Painted Cats Adoption Special.

During the entire month of October, you can adopt any cat with two or more coat colors for just $50.  You can check out all of our adoptable cats HERE.  Please note that the standard adoption process applies during this promotion.  


This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Cat Care Society Volunteer and Professional Blogger. 

Kitten Adoption Extravaganza!

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Cat Care Society is having a Kitten Adoption Extravaganza!  From October 15th through October 31st, kitten adoption fees are reduced.  You can adopt one kitten for $65 or two for $120!  Adoption fees cover the Feline Leukemia test, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus test, distemper/upper respiratory vaccination, spay/neuter surgery, microchip, 15-day vet care assistance, a collar and tag, and a cardboard carrier. 

Please stop by to see all of our adoptable kittens in our Kitten Room.  

Shelter Hours:
Tuesday - Friday: Noon to 5:30 pm. 
Saturday: 11 am to 4:30 pm.
Sunday: Noon to 3 pm.

Please note that the standard adoption process still applies during this special.




This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Cat Care Society Volunteer and Professional Blogger.  

Tails of the REAL Painted Cats Adoption Special

Friday, October 02, 2015

Sue Sioux is a gorgeous cat available for adoption at our shelter.

This month we have a fantastic adoption special to help celebrate the Tails of the Painted Cats Gala Dinner & Auction.  For the month of October, you can adopt your own REAL painted cat.  Pay only $50 for any cat seven months of age or older with two or more coat colors.  You can check out all of the cats available for this promotion by visiting our Facebook album.  Please note that the standard adoption process applies.

Please stop by Cat Care Society to meet all of our great cats!



This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Professional Blogger and Cat Care Society Volunteer.

Opt to Adopt Rosie

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Beautiful black panther, Rosie, would love to find her forever home and a human to love.  Rosie is a feisty cat with cattitude.  She's not too happy at the shelter because she doesn't enjoy being around other cats, but if you can get her alone, she likes having her head stroked.  Rosie likes to talk, and she'll let you know her opinions!  Kitten Chow is Rosie's favorite treat, and she likes hanging out on the cat tree in the shelter's upstairs hallway.

Rose originally came to Cat Care when her owner became ill.  Her owner recovered and was able to take Rosie home again.  However, her owner fell ill again and is no longer able to care for Rosie.  All of this transition has been confusing for Rosie, but she would love to find a new home.  

Rosie is approximately 14 years old.  Because she is a "senior" cat, she is part of the Perpet-U-Care program, which will pay for a portion of her veterinary care for the rest of her life (restrictions apply).  She prefers a home without children, dogs, or other cats.  

You can meet Rosie in the upstairs hallway at Cat Care Society.  Please take the time to get to know this sweet girl - you won't regret it!  

Special Needs September Adoption Special

During the entire month of September, you can adopt any special needs or senior cat from Cat Care Society for $40.  Individuals with disabilities and seniors aged 60+ can adopt any special needs or senior cat for $20.  Please note that the standard adoption process still applies.  


This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Professional Blogger and Cat Care Society Volunteer.

Inga Needs a Forever Home

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Inga is one of the beautiful senior cats at our shelter waiting for her forever home.

Inga is a beautiful blue/gray Domestic Mediumhair cat eagerly waiting for her forever home.  She is friendly and affectionate.  She enjoys sitting in your lap, being pet, and being brushed.  She is a quiet girl who would enjoy hanging out with you while you watch television or read a good book.  

Inga is approximately 12 years old.  She is eligible for our Special Needs September Adoption Special and is part of the Perpet-U-Care program, which will pay for a portion of her medical care for the rest of her life.*  Inga is already apayed, up-to-date on vaccinations, litter box trained, and has tested negative for FIV and FeLV.  

You can visit Inga in the Gold Room at our shelter.  She would love the chance to meet you and show you why she makes a wonderful companion.  

Note: Inga is currently on a medical hold. 

*Perpet-U-Care can only be used at the Cat Care Society Veterinary Clinic and does not cover the cost of routine wellness exams, vaccinations, euthanasia, or cremation.  


This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Professional Blogger and Cat Care Society Volunteer.  

Special Needs September Adoption Special

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

P.J., one of the great adoptable special needs cats available for adoption at our shelter.

We're offering an adoption special for all of our senior cats and cats with chronic medical conditions this month.  You can adopt any senior or special needs cat from Cat Care for $40.  People with disabilities as well as seniors age 60+ can adopt any special needs or senior kitty for $20.  Please note that the standard adoption process still applies.

All of Cat Care's senior and special needs kitties are part of the Perpet-U-Care program.  The Perpet-U-Care program provides up to $250 of free medical services in the Cat Care Clinic annually to help offset the cost of adopting a senior or special needs cat from our shelter.  Please note that Perpet-U-Care does not cover routine wellness exams, vaccinations, euthanasia, or cremation costs.  

Current senior and special needs cats available for adoption at our shelter:


Please stop by to visit all of our senior and special needs cats!


This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Professional Blogger and Cat Care Society Volunteer. 

Opt to Adopt Augustine

Friday, August 14, 2015

Augustine is a beautiful black panther hoping to find his forever home.  He is friendly and affectionate.  He likes being pet and getting head scratches.  He also enjoys warming his sleek black fur in sun puddles.  

Our awesome shelter manager, Heather Allen, says, "Augustine is a sweet and gentle cat who loves human attention.  He loves to run up and greet all visitors entering the room.  He gets along with his feline roommates and would do just fine in a multi-cat home."  

Augustine is approximately three years old.  He is already neutered, up-to-date with vaccinations, and tested negative for FIV and FeLV.  

You can meet Augustine in the Gold Room at our shelter.  He'll show you why he makes the perfect companion. 

Black Cat Appreciation Adoption Special

From August 18th through August 23rd, name your price on any black cat or cat with some black fur age one year or older.  Or spin the wheel to determine your adoption fee:

  • Light or dark blue: Adoption fee waived.
  • Purple, green, or yellow: $8 adoption fee.
  • Red: $17 adoption fee.  


This post is written by Sierra M. Koester, Professional Blogger and Cat Care Society Volunteer. 


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