Home » Blog » 5 Things You Need to Know Before Adopting an FIV Cat

Gray tabby cat in yellow and black hand-case backpack

One of the most dreaded diseases in cats is the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Up to this day, the diagnosis and testing protocol for this infection is still evolving. Itt is not uncommon to see FIV-positive cats ignored during adoption periods and end up getting euthanized.

Generally, cats with FIV do not differ from uninfected felines. An FIV cat can live a normal life without showing any signs of illness. However, there are cases where your pet must be watched very closely.

If you are considering adopting a cat, do not rule out FIV-positive cats. To further help you in your decision-making process, below are five things you need to know when adopting an FIV cat.

1. FIV Cats Must Stay Indoors

A kitten peeking from a sofa.

Since FIV-positive cats have a weaker immune system, they must be prevented from going out of the house. Allowing them to wander outside increases the chance that they encounter sick feral cats and contaminated objects.

Staying indoors should not limit their activity levels. Continue to engage them in mentally and physically stimulating activities such as puzzle toys, chew toys, electronic/interactive toys, and catnip toys. 

If you want them to get a breath of fresh air, you may invest in a cat tent or an enclosure that connects to your house. These measures ensure that they can do cat things while remaining within the confined spaces of your residence.

2. FIV Cats Must Be Neutered And Spayed

An orange cat lying on the floor.

FIV is spread through sexual contact and bite wounds. Spayed and neutered cats do not have the desire to mate, and male cats are less aggressive after the operation.

Aside from the above mentioned effects, spayed and neutered cats have fewer chances to develop other diseases such as urinary tract infection, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.

3. FIV Cats Must Live A Healthy Lifestyle

A girl watching her cat on a skateboard.

Like in humans, a healthy lifestyle in cats reduces the chances that they get sick from diseases. This is especially important for immune-compromised cats since their system will have a harder time warding off infections.

To get your FIV cat in tip-top shape, feed them with a nutritious and balanced diet, make them exercise at least 30 minutes daily, hydrate, and complete their booster supplements prescribed by your vet. Never give cats with FIV raw meats and eggs, as these may contain harmful bacteria and parasites. Raw egg is a well-known source of Salmonella and even undercooked pork meat may be contaminated with a roundworm known as Trichinella spiralis.

4. FIV Cats Must Be Monitored Carefully

A cat lying near a window.

Because of their compromised immune system, FIV-positive cats are susceptible to contracting other diseases. Special attention must be given to any changes in their body and behavior, no matter how small. 

Monitor your cat for the following signs of disease and bring them to your vet for an immediate check-up:

  • Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth)
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Cuts or wounds
  • Bald spots
  • Pus
  • Tender or soft body areas
  • Redness in the mouth
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Lethargic

5. FIV Cats Should Have Regular Vet Visits

A white cat with blue eyes.

FIV cats should have vet visits at least twice a year. This frequency ensures that your vet will be able to catch any disease that you might not be able to detect earlier. It will ensure that your FIV cat is treated immediately and will reduce the treatment cost.

Other Things To Consider When Adopting An FIV Cat

A cat with a pink collar.

A potential owner of an FIV-positive cat should bear in mind that previous vaccinations against FIV will give a positive test result for the virus. Check the medical history of the cat you would like to adopt and consult with your vet on the necessary actions.

If you already took the leap of faith and proceeded with adopting an FIV cat, slowly introduce him or her to your other cats. Try to put them into separate rooms and slowly familiarize them with each other. This technique will lessen the chances of them fighting and your FIV-positive cat infecting your other healthy cats. 

As mentioned in the introduction, FIV cats are unnecessarily euthanized. If you ever lose your FIV-positive cat, it is best to have a microchip and tag so they will be returned to you. These devices also contain information about the medical status of your pet, so those who found them will know that they were already vaccinated. 


Four kittens in a basket.

Cats with FIV are easily one of the most misunderstood animals, thanks to the lots of false information surrounding them. In this article, we tackled the common things a prospective FIV cat parent must expect once they give the adoption a go. These things include the cat’s living space, neutering and spaying, lifestyle, health monitoring, and vet visits.  

We also gave some tips on what to check during the adoption process and how to incorporate FIV cats into your family. If you are ready to adopt FIV cats, get them from a reliable and trusted organization like Doobert