Q: Healthy Cats living with HIV Positve Cats

June 19, 2009 | By Bonnie M. | 6 answers | Expired: 2409 days ago

Bonnie  M.

Does any one have healthy cats and HIV positive cats living together? Can they or can they not ? A co-worker has been taking care of a stray and she wanted to bring it into the house with her 14 yr old resident female. She had gotten her shots and got her fixed but she tested positive for HIV. She is heartbroken. Any help would be appreciated!

Can she let her live with her cat or not?

Readers' Answers (6)
Silver Dragon Pets N.

Jun 20, 2009

FIV (the feline version of HIV) is transmittable through saliva and can be airborne. If the FIV+ cat sneezes and the resident cat breathes any particles in, it can get FIV too. Even if the FIV cat is outside and the resident cat is inside, all it takes is an open window and a sneeze to make the indoor cat infected too.

Many shelters and rescues automatically euthanize FIV+ cats. Those rescues that do work with them seek out FIV+ homes to foster and adopt cats who test positive because it's not worth risking the health of other cats in the household. It is possible for an infected cat and a non-infected cat to live together without spreading the disease, but it is incredibly uncommon. Most of the time the owner just doesn't realize that it's spread because the cats may not show any signs of being sick for many years, and most owners to not have their cats FIV tested annually.

My best advice is to have your friend start looking for a home for one or the other. It's not worth risking the 14 year old cat's life to bring in a new cat with a communicable life-threatening disease. If she opts to go through a rescue, make sure she asks what their policy is on known FIV+ cats before she commits to surrendering the stray!

Thumbs Up: 2 | Thumbs up!

Lisa B.

Jun 19, 2009

I had a cat who had HIV and my other cat did not get it, but the other cat was four years old not 14. I wouldn't risk it. I would let it live in it's own bedroom and leave the windows open as much as possible for constant fresh air. I would worry every time the cat with HIV would sneeze. He eventually died from cancer at 14. You really have to keep the HIV cat from catching anything because the immune system can't help it get well.

Thumbs Up: 1 | Thumbs up!


Jun 19, 2009

I don't have cats, but i think I heard somewhere that cats can get HIV & feline leukemia from each other, but the Vet that checked her should be able to tell your friend, and if so maybe somebody that wants a cat & is looking would want her, good luck to your friend & the cat, I hope it all works out.

Thumbs Up: 0 | Thumbs up!

You might also enjoy:

Got a question about your pet? Get the answers you need from Zootoo's community of pet experts and owners.