If your cat has been diagnosed with Feline AIDS or FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), you may have questions about this cat disease. This disease is in the same family as HIV, which causes AIDS in humans. Like HIV in humans, FIV attacks the immune system of cats. Approximately 1-3.5% of healthy cats in the United States have this disease. Although there is no cure, FIV is not necessarily a death sentence and with proper care your cat could live for many years. Read on for 5 ways to care for your FIV infected cat.
- Cat wellness visits with your vet clinic should be scheduled at least every six months. Your vet will check for signs of the disease's progression such as weight loss and infections, and a blood count and urinalysis will be preformed. Stay on top of vaccinations to prevent additional diseases from causing further damage.
- Keep your cat indoors to lessen the opportunities to pick up an infection or parasite from other cats. Cats hunt by instinct, and animals that cats like to kill, like birds, squirrels and rodents, are usually plagued with parasites. Keeping your FIV cat indoors will also keep the disease from spreading to other cats in the neighborhood. FIV is spread from cat to cat through bites. Make certain to have your cat spayed or neutered, which will make it far easier to keep your cat indoors and healthy.
- Watch for signs of infections and seek treatment immediately. Common infections include eye and upper respiratory tract issues, infected teeth and gums and tumors and abscesses. You may want to have your cat's teeth cleaned at the vets to ensure a healthy, bacteria free mouth. Watch for signs of loss of appetite or diarrhea.
- Feed a healthy diet with no uncooked meats or unpasteurized foods, since parasites can live in raw meats. Keep the feeding area clean by wiping dishes and floors with a bleach solution. Put out small quantities at a time to lessen the chance of bacteria growth.
- Protect your cat from parasites such a fleas and worms which cause diseases that your cat, with her weakened immune system, may not be able to fight off as easily as an uninfected cat.
Like HIV in humans, FIV can be asymptomatic (showing no signs of the disease) in cats for many years. Following the above tips to provide proper care for your cat will help ensure that your cat lives the full and healthy life that he deserves.