Nine Lives Foundation is a no-kill shelter. We, therefore, have a number of different types of Special Needs cats, including kittens and cats that test positive for the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). These kittens and cats are very sweet and friendly and make wonderful pets. However, their immune system is compromised and they are therefore more susceptible to illness. Feline leukemia is a disease that only affects cats, and cannot be transmitted to people or any other animals. Kittens may get the disease in utero or drinking an infected mother’s milk. Older cats may get FeLV by grooming and fighting with an infected cat via saliva, blood, and possibly urine and feces. Therefore, a FeLV-positive cat should not be in a household with other cats and be kept indoors to prevent infecting indoor-outdoor cats.
Kittens and cats that test positive for the FeLV virus are initially very healthy and may remain so for many months or years. Some kittens and cats may not tolerate the virus as well and live only a few years. However, although their life span may be shorter, we want their time to be as happy as possible in a home environment.