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A FIV+ Result - Now What?

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

A compassionate woman contacted us asking for help with the two cats and their collective 8 kittens that she rescued from the streets. The mamma cats appeared to be very bonded and given their ages and appearance, we are guessing they were sisters. Because of their bond, the rescuer set up a big box in her home where the sisters could relax and nurse their babies together. They were so comfortable with each other, they even nursed one another's babies. 

Bereet and Jean Grey - Sisters

After we picked up everyone, we took them straight to Dr. Amanda Blake at North Veterinary Veterinary Clinic where they received an exam and tested them for FELV (feline leukemia virus) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). That was when we got the bad news. One of the moms, Bereet, tested positive for FIV. But this isn't as scary as it sounds! 

All of these kittens had now nursed on the infected mom. Should we be worried? What do we do now?

Yondu, Ego and siblings at 3 weeks old

FIV is a disease that cats can get from other cats with the disease, typically through a deep bite wound. It is rarely passed to kittens from the mother. However, the mom will pass her antibodies to her kittens. Since that is what we are looking for in the cat's blood that results in a positive or negative FIV test, we can't trust a kitten's positive test result until after 6 months. That's when the maternal antibodies will be gone from their system. 

We can test kittens starting at 8 weeks old and if a kitten tests negative, they are disease free! If they test positive, we need to retest them every 60-90 days until we receive a negative result or they are 6 months old. That's the first positive test result we can trust. 

Jean Grey and 8 kittens

Why are you telling me all of this?

We typically spend about $200 getting each cat/kitten for adoption. That includes being examined by a veterinarian, being dewormed, receiving all necessary vaccinations, being spayed or neutered, receiving a microchip and being tested for FELV/FIV. Unfortunately, now we will need to spend more to test each kitten, potentially multiple times. People are understandably nervous when they hear a pet is positive for a disease. We get it! But it means we may also need to house them longer as well, which means more food and supplies for every day they aren't in a forever home. We are thrilled to keep loving these babies for as long as necessary, but we need your help.

There are many ways to help!