Feline Leukemia & Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

  1. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
  2. Feline Leukemia

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

More commonly known as Feline AIDS, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a virus that cats can carry for years with no clinical symptoms.

How It Is Spread

It is known as the “fighting cat” disease because it is spread from one cat to another through deep bite wounds. These wounds usually occur during aggressive catfights. It is highly unlikely that cats can spread it to each other through mutual grooming or sharing food/water bowls.


Once symptoms develop, the infected cat’s immune system is severely weakened and they become susceptible to secondary infections. FIV can also shorten a cat's lifespan because of the illnesses associated; however, many cats can still live a long life. Unfortunately, there is no cure.


There is a vaccine for FIV, however, it is controversial so it’s recommended that you speak with your veterinarian before vaccination. The only way to prevent your cat from contracting this virus is to have any new cats coming into the home tested first and keep your cats indoors. This is a test that can be performed at your veterinarian’s office and you can usually get the results by the end of the appointment.

More Information

For more information on FIV, view the FAQs About Feline Immunodeficiency Virus flyer (PDF).