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152264 tn?1280358257

FIV plus non-FIV OK together?

We recently adopted a stray cat (from a friend's back porch) that turned out to have FIV.

We already have an uninfected cat. Some of what I read online says that FIV cats should not go into a household with uninfected cats. Some of it says it's OK as long as the FIV cat isn't biting.

So far we've kept one cat upstairs and the other downstairs, but we can't keep that stair door closed forever. We've been trying to find another home for the FIV cat, but that will be difficult. And we love him.

What's the straight scoop--CAN we introduce them (very watchfully, of course, until we see how the FIV cat reacts) and let them live together? He is extremely laid back, but we don't know how he will react to our uninfected cat.

He is currently healthy, after we got him dental surgery (six teeth pulled!) and antibiotics for his very bad gums and teeth. His mouth is fine now.

Thanks for any advice or info, or any authority you can recommend that is the most authoritative on this matter.

Nancy T.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
I have the same question.  I have two strays we found and I'm keeping them here till Because You Care has room for them.  They are paying their vet expenses though while I have them.  

One of them tested positive for Feline Leukemia.  I have two cats of my own in the house.  The vet asked me if my two cats were up to date on their shots so I'm under the impression that as long as the other cats are vaccinated then it's ok.  But they also told me that the infected stray would probably have to be adopted into a one cat home.

My problem is one of my cats wasn't up to date on his shots cause he doesn't go outside and he is really bad when I take him to the vet.  I got him vaccinated but he has already been exposed to the infected one.  So I have to have my cat tested in a few weeks now.

The Because You Care wants me to keep the cat in the house but I don't know if I want to take the risk if there is still even the slightest chance my cats can be infected.  So I would really like to know the answer to your question also.  I don't think my cats would fight with her but like I said  I don't want to take the chance if they can still be infected.

I'm going to keep an eye on this thread also.  Good Luck
228686 tn?1211558307

FIV is highly contagious. Now, it does have to be direct fluid contact. And since you're dealing with animals, it's highly likely that contagion can occur.


Newer studies have given a better understanding. So just because a cat develops FIP/FCV, it is NOT a death sentence (and now they are starting to know why). At the least, kitty just becomes a healthy carrier, at the most , it can cause death and major health issues.

If you have a FV infected cat, you have to be aware of not just fighting and biting, but sharing of food/water dishes as well.

Now, I've had FIV infected and non-infected FIV cats interacting in this household, and there was no cross infecting of the non infected kitties. So while the infection rate is high (as in, fluid contact will lead to a high chance of infection), it doesn't mean just by existing together it will happen.

At the same time, I don't want to say go ahead and put your kitties at risk.

So...I suppose I'm saying I can't tell you what to do. :)

It's a big decision, as there are risks involved. Just keep in mind that like I said, it isn't a guaranteed problem. I a cat does develop FIP, it can still Ive a happy, long life.
152264 tn?1280358257
Thank you, Savas. I've heard a number of stories of people who had the two kinds of cats together with no problems, but... the risk is always there, as you say.

Here is the most authoritative statement I think I've found (just today) on the question, from the American Association of Feline Practitioners:

cats in households with stable social structures where housemates do not
fight are at little risk for acquiring FIV infection. However, separation of
infected cats from uninfected housemates is recommended to eliminate the
potential for FIV transmission. "

From http://www.aafponline.org/resources/guidelines/Felv_FIV_Guidelines.pdf

So, basically--the risk is low, but separation is recommended.

I just talked to our vet and she feels the risk could be as high as 50 percent, particularly since the FIV cat has had significant symptoms, namely, a badly infected mouth (which we cleared up with antibiotics and dental surgery).

I'm taking him to the vet again Monday for another checkup and another blood test (she says that 10 percent of cats get rid of the virus entirely--I've never heard that anywhere else! but I'm certainly not counting on it), and then we'll decide what to do. Also going to discuss vaccinating our uninfected cat against FIV.

Bearsmomma, your situation is somewhat different, as FeLV is transmitted differently than FIV. Please read the article at the link above--it deals fully with FeLV as well.

Good luck to us all, and purrs and hopes for good health to all the kitties!!


228686 tn?1211558307
I've actually got a bit of a "theory" that cats who are VERY friendly with each other at at higher risk of infection than cats who aren't friendly. After all, there's a significant amount of oral/tongue contact in terms of family grooming. then again, I still think the risk isn't all that high.
Short of repeated knock down drag out brawls, intercourse, or obsessive shared grooming, I wouldn't worry. too much. :)

Good luck, and keep us posted.
507241 tn?1225495385
I have 6 cats and at one time I brought an outside cat inside.He also tested psitive for feline aids.He also lived to be 15 yrs old.  It is not as contageous as people make out.The other cats would have to receive a deep bite by the infected cat. Anyway to be on the safe side I had all my other cats vaccinated against it
Some people are not aware of these vaccinations
228686 tn?1211558307
I've noticed that once a cat gets past about a year or so, if they're generally health FeL tends to not be a major issue if you take care of kitty's health.  You are right that a deep bite ican make almost gaurenteed transfer of the illness, but it is possible to get transference in other ways (although statistically, it's fairly low).

Six cats! You have a kitty basketball team, 5 + 1 manager! I don't suppose you named them after the leading line from the Harlem Globetrotters???
152264 tn?1280358257
Misty, thanks for sharing your experience. And Savas, thanks for your further insights, too! (But I'm a bit confused by the abbreviations you're using--in your last post you used "FeL"--wouldn't that be leukemia, not FIV? Also, what are FIP and FCV, which you mentioned in an earlier post?)

I took Pasha to the vet again Monday and he seems OK except that he lost 2 pounds in the six weeks or so since his mouth surgery!! Yet he seems to be eating fine, acting and looking perfectly normal. The weight loss concerns me (although he's not actually underweight, the vet says), but he doesn't seem to have any infections currently except still a slight inflammation in his gums, I guess. (MUCH better than before, of course.)

I have decided to just keep the cats separated for now, and we'll see what happens. They seem reasonably content to each have a floor to themselves, most of the time.

If we did let them live together, we would almost certainly want to separate them when we're gone (to avoid any fighting or biting we wouldn't know about) and keep their food bowls and litter boxes away from each other. And it would be difficult to keep Pasha inside when Masha is used to going out. This would all cause some logistical problems and possibly more stress for the cats. Right now I think the separation may be the lowest-stress solution for everyone. I work upstairs on my computer most days, so Pasha gets lots of company up here!

He did accidentally get loose a few days ago (on the totally sleep-deprived morning at 4:00 a.m. when we were packing up my husband and daughter for a trip to visit relatives in Europe, and I helped my daughter carry her suitcase downstairs and we forgot to shut the door!). It wasn't promising--he did chase after Masha, though I don't think they made contact.

Thanks again, everyone, for all the advice. I'm going to just stick with the status quo for now and see how things develop. I'm still hoping we might find another good home for him, although I realize that's not very likely.

Nancy T.
228686 tn?1211558307
Argh, there are some things spell check won't catch. There is a FIV vaccine. The trick is finding out which of the five strains your kitty has. Has your vet done this/told you? I believe the vaccine is only for two

I meant to write FIV, not Fel. FeL is actually the vaccination for FIV, which is a virus (engineered) in its own right.

FIP is Feline Infectious Peritonitis. To sum it up, there's "wet form" and "dry form". FCV is "feline Coronea Virus"Wet form causes the body cavities to fill with fluids. Dry form causes lesions to form on the internal organs. there are different levels of benign/deadliness...if you're interested, I'm putting a link at the bottom which can give you a fairly comprehensive description.

The other...I was either referring to Feline coronea Virus or Feline calicivirus. The latter is a virus of the family Caliciviridae that causes disease in cats. It is one of the two important viral causes of respiratory infection in cats, the other being feline herpesvirus. The Former is the group named for dieases that cause FIP or corona virus enteritis (intestinal disease).
Aieee! All these initials give me brain freeze. :)


Well, if the two kitties don't seem to mind the status quo, than I see no reason to change it. Cats are great ones for Cold Wars. :)
152264 tn?1280358257
Hey thanks, Savas! "Aieee" is right!--more kitty diseases than I even want to know about! (or, rather, hope I never HAVE to know about).

I am just keeping a close eye on him for any signs of illness, and I'll whisk him off to the vet. So far so good.

We all remain happy--I get cats on my lap both upstairs and downstairs, and they seem happy to have me, and their own territory, to themselves.

228686 tn?1211558307
Heh heh... to be honest, I have a hard time keeping track of all the different diseases and initials. then again, I'm not very good with names period (people, places, things...no memory for it).  I'd make a terrible doctor or vet. It doesn't' build confidence in the patient when you say;

"Ah, I know what it is. It's...you know, THAT one. the one that causes foot and paw rot. Needs that yellow mediation. The one on the counter. No, the OTHER yellow medication!" :)
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