Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)


What Is FIV?

FIV is a lentivirus, a slow-progressing virus that can compromise a cat’s
immune system, reducing its ability to fight off illnesses. The virus has a long
latent period then progresses so slowly that it may never affect a cat’s
immune system.

  • FIV cats can live just as long and as healthy as Non-FIV cats and
    ultimately die of the same causes as Non-FIV cats.
  • The virus cannot be passed to humans or other animals.
  • FIV cats can live with other non-aggressive cats without spreading the
  • FIV is transmitted primarily through a deep bite where the virus is injected
    directly into the bloodstream of the Non-FIV cat. Bites of this kind are
    extremely rare, except in free-roaming, un-neutered tomcats.
  • The virus is weak and cannot live outside the cat’s body for long and is
    killed by light, air, heat, and household disinfectants.
  • Casual behaviors do not pass the virus. (e.g., shared food or water dishes
    or toys, mutual grooming, snuggling, mock fighting, shared litter boxes,
    scratches, not even sneezes.)
  • FIV cats need the same care all cats need—a quality diet (the best you
    can afford), live in a safe environment (indoor and/or outdoor cat-proofed
    area), regular Vet exams, treat any health problems as they arise, and
  • For more information on FIV download our fact sheet below.