Why You Should Adopt An FeLV+ Cat

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FeLV+ cats – cats living with Feline Leukemia Virus – can live a happy life just like any other cat, and deserve just as much love, if not more. Many people who adopt and care for FeLV+ cats find it to be an incredibly positive and rewarding experience, and often stick to adopting FeLV+ cats for this reason.

The ideal home for an FeLV+ cat is one most people can easily provide! Ask yourself these questions to find out if you would be an ideal owner for an FeLV cat:

Do you have a home without any other cats?
If you have another cat, are they also FeLV+?
Can you support regular vet visits and bills?
Can you access and provide a nutritionally balanced diet?
Are you able to provide an indoor-only, clean environment?
Are you willing to make time for play and affection?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then you are someone who should consider adopting an FeLV+ cat!

What is FeLV?

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus that causes a variety of diseases in cats by invading and replicating itself inside of living cells, making it impossible to cure. In most infected cats, FeLV results in a weaker immune system, making them more vulnerable against common infections.

FeLV is exclusive to cats – only found in 1-2% of cats worldwide – and does not pose a risk to other types of animals or people. New research suggests that adult cats are naturally immune to retroviruses like FeLV. The most common transmission is from mom to kittens and from deep, penetrating bite wounds from other cats. Outdoor cats tend to be at a greater risk of exposure due to their lifestyle.

Despite how scary FeLV may sound, it is important to understand that an FeLV cat can live a normal life for many years without illness.

Cats with FeLV will live normal, healthy and active lives for prolonged periods of time, living up to 4 years or more after diagnosis. They will have their own unique personality for you to learn all about, and want to play, snuggle, eat and sleep just like any other cat.

The best situation for an FeLV-infected cat is to live in a clean, indoor-only environment and be the only cat in the household. You can, however, easily enjoy a multi-pet household since FeLV+ cats can live with other species – so no worries if you have a home with dogs, bunnies, birds and so on because they are not susceptible to the FeLV virus.

Maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet is essential for FeLV+ cats. Ideally, an FeLV+ cat will be fed a high quality canned food diet, because of the higher water content. Raw diets should be avoided due to the increased risk of foodborne bacterial and parasitic diseases.

FeLV+ cat owners will need to be able to support regular vet visits and bills in order to maintain a good preventative healthcare routine and keep any potential illnesses at bay. At least two vet visits per year is recommended for vaccinations, regular deworming, and the ability to catch and treat any potential infections. All FeLV+ cats should be spayed or neutered.

Cats who are FeLV+ require special, but totally do-able, considerations.

Many people falsely assume that FeLV+ cats are sick and dying, and that they have no quality of life. Because of this misunderstanding, FeLV+ cats are often overlooked among other cats at the time of adoption. The reality is, however, that cats who are FeLV+ can remain healthy for years after their diagnosis. So, if you are considering adoption and meet a cat with a wonderful personality, don’t let FeLV stop you from taking your furry partner in crime home. Whatever length their life ends up being, they are just as deserving of one that is filled with love.

Are you ready to welcome a loveable new furry family member into your home?


Meet Punky, our FeLV+ adoptable cat here at C.A.R.E. He is an absolute gem and is one of the friendliest and most social cats of all! We aren’t quite sure why he’s still here, but we think it might have to do with some of the misconceptions about his FeLV that we addressed above.

Punky is a healthy, handsome 6 year old neutered male cat that came to C.A.R.E. as a stray who had been sneaking into a lady’s home to snuggle with her at night. He’s a total lover whose main goal in life is to get all the snuggles he can! While he gets as much attention as our shelter staff and volunteer team can give him, Punky is more than ready to be taken care of and loved around the clock in his forever home.

Learn more about Punky HERE and come meet him today!

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