FELV

What is FELV?

FeLV stands for FEline Leukaemia Virus which is a viral infection of cats that affects a cat’s immune system and bone marrow.

Is there a cure?

There is no cure.

Can humans and other animals become infected?

It’s purely a feline virus and can not be transferred to humans or dogs.

How is it spread?

The virus is typically spread from cat to cat via close contact of infected and non-infected cats. It is normally spread via saliva, but it can also be spread by grooming, shared food bowls, bites and other forms of close contact. It can also be transmitted from a mother cat to a kitten in utero or during nursing.

How do i protect my cat against FELV?

Outdoor cats are particularly susceptible to the virus, and the best way to prevent infection with FELV is to ensure that your cat is vaccinated, sterilised and stays indoors or within your safe enclosed garden. There is a vaccination for FELV. Kittens can be vaccinated from about 8/9 weeks and then again 3 weeks later. There after a yearly booster FELV vaccination is necessary. If you do not ensure your cats receive their booster test they will be vulnerable and could contract the virus when they come into contact with a FELV+ cat.

How do I know if a cat has FELV?

Most FELV+ cats show no symptoms. All cats coming into the household should be tested before introducing them to your cats.

Do FELV+ cats need to be euthanised once they test positive?

FELV is not typically fatal for cats, with proper diet & veterinary management they can live long, healthy and happy lives, and they deserve to do so. People who have FeLV-positive cats just need to be aware that they may have a shorter life span and that they need to be taken to a veterinarian as soon as a problem is noted. 

Can FELV+ cats live with FELV- cats?

A negative and positive cat could certainly live in the same house, as long as they do not have contact with each other and the negative cat has been vaccinated against FELV. This can only be done if the FELV+ cat is isolated from the negative cats for his/her entire lifetime. No contact can ever be made between negative and the positive cats. FELV cats should have their own bowls, litter boxes etc... no cross contamination can be allowed. People moving between the positive and negative cats need to ensure their hand are disinfected at all times.

Can FELV+ cats go outside?

FELV-infected cats should be confined indoors to prevent spread of FELV infection to other cats in the neighborhood and to reduce their exposure to infectious agents carried by other animals. Or you could build a catio for the FELV cat but ensure FELV- cats can not make contact through fencing. Another option is to enclose your garden so that neighbourhood cats can't get in and your cat can't get out.