According to a 2008 study, around 2.5% of the world’s feline population is infected with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). Though cats with FIV can typically live long, happy, and healthy lives, they often get turned away by animal shelters that have limited resources and space. Many shelters even resort to euthanizing FIV+ cats to make room for cats who are deemed more “adoptable”. Part of the problem, of course, is that people looking to adopt overlook FIV+ cats because they don’t understand the virus or are misinformed about how it will affect their lives. Here are 5 reasons to consider a FIV+ cat the next time you’re looking to expand your family.
1. Cats Infected With FIV Can Live Long and Healthy Lives
With proper care, a FIV+ cat can live a long and comfortable life. In fact, it’s not uncommon for cats infected with FIV to live up to 12 years! Like with any cat, the lifespan of an FIV+ cat will depend on the luck of the draw. But since the health and lifespan of a cat with FIV depends so much on maintaining a strong immune system there are some things you can do to stack the odds, including keeping your cat indoors, scheduling wellness checkups twice a year, and feeding a high-nutrition diet.
2. FIV+ Cats Can Live With Non-Infected Cats
One of the biggest misconceptions about FIV is that it can be easily transmitted to non-infected cats. The fact is that, other than the rare case of pregnant moms infecting their kittens, FIV is spread through deep bite wounds and scratches. Essentially, a healthy cat would need to come in contact with an infected cat’s blood in order to acquire the infection. That means that FIV+ cats can live healthily and harmoniously with non-infected cats as long as neither cat is prone to aggression.
3. They’re Just Cats
If you’re looking to adopt a cat, then you’re in luck because FIV+ cats are just like other cats! Like every other cat you’ve ever known, each FIV+ cat will have his or her own unique personality. It’s worth noting that many people who live and work with FIV+ cats have reported them to be, on average, more gentle and sweet than non-infected cats they’ve known.
4. Shelters Need Space to Rescue More
There are only a handful of shelters in the United States that accept FIV+ cats. By adopting one, you give the shelter the resources and space to rescue more FIV+ cats from the streets or euthanization.
5. You’ll Save a Life
Since FIV+ cats get euthanized at such a high rate, adopting one into your family will literally save a life.