Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

House of Dreams cares for many cats who carry the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), because we believe they deserve a chance at a rich, happy life. That’s not the case in many places where, because of lack of information or understanding about FeLV, they routinely would be euthanized.

FeLV is a retrovirus, there is no “cure”, and it usually compromises the immune system. That makes an FeLV-positive cat more susceptible to diseases other cats normally fight off. But even though their life span might be shorter, an FeLV+ cat can live a healthy, active, normal life for many years with no special treatment.

The virus affects only cats; dogs, other animals, and humans cannot contract it. It spreads among cats through close contact involving bodily fluids, for instance by mutual grooming, fighting, breeding, and sharing of food/water bowls. FeLV+ mothers can also pass the virus to their kittens.

Though the virus does not live for long outside of the cat, it is important to give FeLV+ cats their own separate area, which is what we do at House of Dreams. We do not recommend housing FeLV+ cats with negative cats to avoid any possibility of spreading the virus. But we do recommend staying on top of an FeLV+ cat’s health and getting regular vet care and checkups. And we highly recommend giving FeLV+ cats the forever home with the life and the love they deserve!

► Best Friends Animal Society has a comprehensive FAQ about FeLV here

► Here's another good FAQ from the Cornell University Feline Health Center and the American Association of Feline Practitioners