Is FIV in cats like HIV in humans?

Not really. Both diseases are caused by a retrovirus but cats with Feline AIDS fare much better that humans with AIDS. In fact, most cats with FIV (90%) have a normal lifespan. FIV positive cats don’t need to be on special medications either. Older FIV positive cats can be more susceptible to upper respiratory infections (colds) and dental problems. However, this is often the case with older cats who don’t have FIV.


How do cats get FIV?

Cats get FIV through mating behavior and bite wounds. The best way to prevent the spreading of FIV is to spay and neuter.

Is FIV contagious to other cats if all are spayed or neutered?

If all of the cats interacting with each other get along well and do not bite each other, it is virtually impossible to spread to other cats. Our consulting vet, Dr. Kari Hatch, has a friendly FIV positive cat who lives with her family along with her other two cats. At this time, one of our foster homes who fosters our older cats also has a friendly and mellow FIV positive cat living with her other cats.

We are hopeful that, with this information, we will have some people in our community interested in adopting one of these nice cats!


Skippy is a very playful cat. He gets along with other cats but wants ​his space​. ​Skippy​ is very friendly and likes humans to use the wand toys to play with him or to pet him and he enjoys visits from our junior volunteers. Skippy does have hyperthyroidism and requires medicine for this as well as semi annual vet visits. Skippy is FIV positive.

DOB 7/7/2007


I know that I am beautiful and I am a diva. I have my fans but it is not easy to keep up with the adulation so I must have my temperamental moments, that is what Divas do. I dream of a quiet home with humans that adore me. I would be ok with the company of a special cat friend like Nicholas but absolutely forbid dogs or young children. Just like my friend Nicholas, I am also FIV positive.

DOB 1/1/2013


I am a handsome fellow and do like people, but I do need time to get to know you because I am a bit shy. I have made friends with the cats in our Cat Castle and I would like to find a home that I could share with one of my special friends. I do need a quiet home that has no dogs or young children. I am FIV positive.

DOB 3/21/2008


Looking for an ornery cat with lots of personality? Then Leonardo is the cat for you! This gorgeous Maine Coon loves attention - but on his own terms. He's been known to nip your ankles to get your full attention and dart out the door when you're not watching. Leonardo was found as a stray by another shelter. One of his rear paws must have been caught in a trap at one point and he is missing a few toes. Unfortunately, he also thinks that litter boxes are optional. Please consider sponsoring Leonardo so he can keep our volunteers on their toes.

DOB 1/1/2006


Manny was found at a volunteer’s feral cat colony, and it was clear that he was too friendly to live outside! When no one claimed him, Manny came to Pet Refuge. Manny is a Manx, so he has a cute little stub tail. Manny loves head rubs and back scratches, but don’t try to tickle his tummy. Manny is a relaxed boy who will be an easy keeper. He gets along well with other cats. Manny is FIV+.  (*)

DOB 7/4/2018

Not to be confused with FIV Positive, Feline Leukemia Positive, or “FELV Positive” or “Feleuks” for short, is a much grimmer diagnosis. In our local stray cat population, we see maybe 1 or 2 cats out of 100 either test positive for Feline Leukemia or FIV. Cats testing positive for FIV tend to live nearly normal life spans and can often live with non-FIV cats with little risk of infecting them. Unfortunately, Feline Leukemia is a more life-limiting disease and it is also more easily transmitted to other cats.

We have had Feleuk Positive cats live anywhere from 6 months to 6 years past their intake date.  Most live at least two years. We currently have several currently healthy and very friendly Feleuk Positive cats available.  We have limited foster space for these cats because they need to be kept separate from other cats.

If you are looking for a special companion that very much needs their forever home, please consider one of our beautiful feline leukemia cats.


4626 Burnett Drive,
South Bend, IN 46614

Telephone: (574) 231-1122
Hours: Mon - Fri | 10 AM - 3 PM


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Wednesdays: 6 PM - 8 PM

Thursdays: 6 PM - 8 PM
Saturdays: 11 AM - 3 PM