Seeking advice - FIV+/FIV- cohabitation

emineminem

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Hello, fellow cat lovers! I’m not sure I’ve chosen the right forum for this question, but hopefully cat lovers here have experience with FIV+ cats and can advise regarding cohabitation with kitties who are FIV-.

Brief background: In late January, a stray started coming to my house daily for dinner. I’m a firm believer in “if you feed ‘em, fix ‘em”, so with help/guidance from a local TNR group, I trapped “Billy” and he was brought in for neuter/vaccines, etc. It was here that Billy tested positive for FIV. Because Billy showed signs that maybe he wasn’t truly feral, I took the rescue’s advice and decided to let him stay inside for a while until he healed, and until the weather started to improve. During this time, I’d also asses his purrsonality and see if he was suited to indoor life. If he wasn’t, we’d move forward with the “return” part of TNR when the weather wasn’t so harsh and build him a shelter. In just a few short weeks it became abundantly clear that Billy is decidedly not feral and probably one of the sweetest cats ever. Honestly, the transformation is shocking. My partner has also fallen completely in love (as have I, to be honest). The original plan was to rehome Billy but now we’d like him to live here. However…

I’ve been doing a lot of research and understand the risk of transmission to my three other cats is low. The problem is that it’s not “zero” so I’m struggling. Billy is a sweetheart and completely docile, but one of my younger cats is a total princess. There have been a few all out brawls, and though rare, they do happen. I’ve never seen blood but the odd chunk of fur gets left on the floor. We have very slowly been introducing them over the past few weeks and so far everything seems fine. My youngest still hisses at Billy but she generally leaves him alone. We’re at the point where we want to allow unsupervised interaction but I’m stressing. I love my babies and feel like I might be an irresponsible pet parent for introducing any risk that could be avoided. Part of me understands FIV + cats can live long, healthy lives and my partner is using this to make himself feel better - that it would almost be ok if there is an accidental transmission. I don’t know if I agree with that.

Previous threads here on this subject support that FIV concerns are really fear-based and the rational part of me understands this. However, the love I have and the need to protect my crew here isn’t based in the rational, which I suspect people here would understand fully. I love my fur kids so much. So, fellow cat lovers, the short version of my question is…what would you do?
 

shadowsrescue

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You have come to the right place! I have 7 cats and 2 are FIV+. The way FIV is transmitted is through a deep bite. Most cats that are spayed/neutered do not fight with the intent of a deep bite wound. One of my FIV+ cats has bitten 2 of my cats. Both of the wounds needed vet care. I had both of the cats retested for FIV about 6 months after the bites. They are negative. FIV is not a death sentence. It works on the immune system so FIV cats are more prone to certain infections. Poor teeth and gums are sometimes a concern.

I give my cats an immune supplement daily. All remain very healthy. My boys who are FIV+ are 9 and 10 years old.

Be sure that you do introductions slowly with Billy and your other cats to prevent multi cat aggression.
 
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emineminem

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You have come to the right place! I have 7 cats and 2 are FIV+. The way FIV is transmitted is through a deep bite. Most cats that are spayed/neutered do not fight with the intent of a deep bite wound. One of my FIV+ cats has bitten 2 of my cats. Both of the wounds needed vet care. I had both of the cats retested for FIV about 6 months after the bites. They are negative. FIV is not a death sentence. It works on the immune system so FIV cats are more prone to certain infections. Poor teeth and gums are sometimes a concern.

I give my cats an immune supplement daily. All remain very healthy. My boys who are FIV+ are 9 and 10 years old.

Be sure that you do introductions slowly with Billy and your other cats to prevent multi cat aggression.
Oh thank you! This makes me feel quite reassured.
Intros are being done very slowly but my princess is unpredictable. She has that ‘tude only very confident cats have (picture “the strut” - I’m sure you know what I’m talking about!). Though she’s youngest and joined our family as a 10-week old baby, she’ll walk by one of her brothers and nip at their ears just because she is a b*. Should I be concerned about *her* biting *him* if it’s superficial?
The Princess needs to be put in her place sometimes, so I’m grateful to hear if Billy does have his buttons pushed too many times, odds are she’ll walk away unscathed. He’s so docile that I’m more worried about him being bit.
Billy is already showing signs of issues resulting from FIV. Chronic diarrhea and terrible dental that he’s likely to have to have most teeth removed. Poor buddy spent far too much time outside fighting to survive which is why I’m so keen to show him a loving, pampered life inside. I can’t be sure but I feel like he was dumped and I want to prove to him that not all humans suck.
 

OdysseusFelix

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Hello, fellow cat lovers! I’m not sure I’ve chosen the right forum for this question, but hopefully cat lovers here have experience with FIV+ cats and can advise regarding cohabitation with kitties who are FIV-.

Brief background: In late January, a stray started coming to my house daily for dinner. I’m a firm believer in “if you feed ‘em, fix ‘em”, so with help/guidance from a local TNR group, I trapped “Billy” and he was brought in for neuter/vaccines, etc. It was here that Billy tested positive for FIV. Because Billy showed signs that maybe he wasn’t truly feral, I took the rescue’s advice and decided to let him stay inside for a while until he healed, and until the weather started to improve. During this time, I’d also asses his purrsonality and see if he was suited to indoor life. If he wasn’t, we’d move forward with the “return” part of TNR when the weather wasn’t so harsh and build him a shelter. In just a few short weeks it became abundantly clear that Billy is decidedly not feral and probably one of the sweetest cats ever. Honestly, the transformation is shocking. My partner has also fallen completely in love (as have I, to be honest). The original plan was to rehome Billy but now we’d like him to live here. However…

I’ve been doing a lot of research and understand the risk of transmission to my three other cats is low. The problem is that it’s not “zero” so I’m struggling. Billy is a sweetheart and completely docile, but one of my younger cats is a total princess. There have been a few all out brawls, and though rare, they do happen. I’ve never seen blood but the odd chunk of fur gets left on the floor. We have very slowly been introducing them over the past few weeks and so far everything seems fine. My youngest still hisses at Billy but she generally leaves him alone. We’re at the point where we want to allow unsupervised interaction but I’m stressing. I love my babies and feel like I might be an irresponsible pet parent for introducing any risk that could be avoided. Part of me understands FIV + cats can live long, healthy lives and my partner is using this to make himself feel better - that it would almost be ok if there is an accidental transmission. I don’t know if I agree with that.

Previous threads here on this subject support that FIV concerns are really fear-based and the rational part of me understands this. However, the love I have and the need to protect my crew here isn’t based in the rational, which I suspect people here would understand fully. I love my fur kids so much. So, fellow cat lovers, the short version of my question is…what would you do?
Hi there! We took Odysseus Felix in when he turned up during the first UK lockdown, we have 2 other cats, 2 older ragdoll girls that just turned 15! A few months ago, Oddy was diagnosed with FIV when he suddenly became really ill and melancholic. We took him for tests and he was confirmed as FIV+. Originally, the vets were wary about him staying with us because of our 2 older cats, so we had them tested and they were both then, and continue to be, negative. As mentioned in an earlier reply, the virus is transferred via deep bite wounds. It's basically impossible to spread by sharing food or grooming each other, as the virus doesn't survive long once it's out of the body. Our cats don't fight each other at all, they play together all the time, but they don't really use their teeth or claws at all, so it's basically impossible for it to spread between them!

Hope this has helped!
 
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