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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

We are among a small few of rescue organisations in Victoria that take in, care for and adopt out cats and kittens with FIV. With proper education and a safe and nurturing environment, FIV doesn't have to be a death sentence for these cats who are just looking for their second chance at life.

Myths about FIV

Myths around Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) continue to be widely propagated, despite scientific findings. Cats with FIV are often overlooked in animal shelters and rescue groups, due to misunderstandings about the disease.


Cats with FIV can live long and healthy lives. In fact, studies over the last 10 years or so have shown that cats with FIV often live as long as otherwise healthy cats that do not have this virus. Many of these cats age normally and never show signs of FIV-related illness.

Here are some informative links to help you understand FIV in more detail, and to dispel some of the myths about FIV:

Caring for cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus - FIV - Pet Rescue

FIV Cats Info

The Great FIV Debate

FIV in Cats

FIV affects cats only

FIV cannot be transmitted to people and is nothing like HIV – human immunodeficiency virus.

How do cats get FIV?

Cats with FIV most commonly acquire the disease through deep bite wounds. In a small minority of cases, the disease is also carried through blood and sometimes birth.

Because biting is the dominant means of transmission, the disease is most prevalent in feral cat colonies with unneutered males. Cats housed exclusively indoors or in secure cat enclosures are much less likely if ever, to be infected.

How long do cats with FIV live?

Studies have found that FIV+ cats often outlive their FIV- friends, or at the very least, live just as long. In fact, a ten-year FIV monitoring project was carried out at Glasgow Veterinary School involving 26 cats and the results indicated that FIV infection did not affect the cats’ life expectancy[1].


It’s important to keep FIV cats away from other sick cats and to keep them indoors to avoid viruses, bacteria or other diseases found outside. Additionally, keeping your FIV cat indoors is responsible to prevent the spread of the disease should your cat get into a fight with another cat.



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