9 Ways You Can Extend Your FIV-Positive Cat’s 9 Lives
Caring for FIV-positive cats isn’t so different from caring for non-FIV cats. However, since FIV-positive cats have a weaker immune system, they’re more vulnerable to environmental factors than most cats. So, adding the right steps to your cat’s routine can make all the difference.
With that said, let’s get right into the nine ways you can extend your FIV-positive cat’s nine lives.
1. Get Them Spayed or Neutered
Hormonal imbalances can trigger stress-related aggression in cats. That’s why unfixed cats are far more likely to pick fights with their fellow felines, especially during mating season. Since FIV mainly spreads through deep bite wounds, it’s extremely important for FIV-positive cats to get spayed or neutered right away.
Aside from that, non-spayed female cats are more vulnerable to developing uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancer. Unneutered males, on the other hand, are at higher risk for developing prostate cancer and urinary tract infections.
2. Keep Them Indoors
The great outdoors may not be so great for FIV-positive cats. Since their immune systems are usually weaker, going outside is a lot riskier for them compared to other cats. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that allowing non-FIV cats to explore the outdoors unsupervised is a good idea.
Letting your cat roam outside, especially if they’re FIV-positive, will increase their risk of becoming infected with diseases from environmental pathogens and sick outdoor animals. It also increases their chances of accidentally ingesting poisonous plants or chemicals and getting hit by vehicles.
3. Never Feed Them Raw Food
Never give raw food to your FIV-positive cat. They may contain harmful parasites and bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause life-threatening infections even in healthy cats. For a cat that’s already immunodeficient, like with ones with FIV, the potential pathogens in raw meat can cause some serious health issues. You can look for other cat food alternatives, like freeze-dried cat food and treats, which offer the same health benefits as raw meat but without risks.
4. Schedule Regular Vet Visits
Regular vet visits and check-ups once or twice a year are essential to make sure your FIV-positive cat is healthy as possible. Remember, cats are experts at hiding their illnesses because it’s somehow a form of self-protection for them. So, unless you get your cat professionally checked, you’ll almost never know for sure whether or not they’re sick.
5. Make Sure They Get Enough Daily Exercise
This one’s not just for FIV-positive cats, but all cats. They need to get about 10-20 minutes of mental and physical exercise daily to stay alert and healthy. That means you should provide them toys and a play area inside your home where they can scratch, climb, and play.
Invest in several engaging cat toys—those they can play with on their own, like cat tunnels and kicker toys, and those that both of you can enjoy, like feather wands and remote-controlled mouse toys. Make sure you get cat trees, cat shelves, and scratching posts, too. Indoor cats need to have an environment where they can do cat things and not get in trouble.
6. Feed Them a Nutritionally Balanced Diet
Only feed your FIV-positive cat high-quality, nutritionally balanced cat food. These are the ones labeled as “complete and balanced” according to AAFCO (Association of American Feed Controls) standards.
If the cat food you’re currently feeding your cat isn’t nutritionally complete, and you want to transition them to a healthier brand of cat food, you can start by mixing in some of the new cat food into the old one. It may take a bit of time for them to adjust, but they’ll eventually get used to their new diet.
However, if you have no idea which brand of cat food to get, feel free to ask for your veterinarian’s opinion. They’ll be happy to guide through their trusted brands and give you some pointers. You can also check out our top cat food choices here!
7. Make Sure They Have a Stress-Free Environment
Stress isn’t necessarily a health problem, but it can definitely cause one to develop. It can cause anxiety, depression, and negative behavioral changes in cats. In worse cases, it can elevate a cat’s blood pressure and lead to sudden death. So, always make sure your FIV-positive cat is comfortable. Never force them to do things they don’t want to.
For example, if your cat hides under the bed, don’t force them to come out; if they don’t want you to pet them, then refrain from doing so. Give your cat some space and allow them to do things at their own pace. They’ll come up to you when they’re ready.
8. Talk to Your Veterinarian About Immune-Boosting Supplements
Since FIV-positive cats have weakened immune systems, incorporating an immune-boosting supplement to their daily diet can do wonders! It can help your cat’s body fend off diseases more efficiently and prevent secondary infections from developing in the future.
Many immune-boosters are available on the market without a prescription, but it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian first. They’ll help you choose the right immune-booster for your cat and give you instructions on the proper dosage, which will depend on your cat’s age and weight.
9. Keep Them Protected from Parasites
Ahh, parasites. You can never get rid of them no matter how much you try. You can, however, give your cat monthly preventative medication to keep them away and make sure your cat is protected at all times.
However, don’t try to administer any of these medications on your own. Talk to your cat’s veterinarian and ask for their input before purchasing and attempting to give any kind of medication to your cat.
Did we miss anything? Feel free to let us know in the comments!