Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

Great news for people who have cats with feline immunodeficiency virus: A recent and long overdue scientific study showed that FIV-positive cats do not transmit the virus to FIV-negative cats through typical daily activities like sharing food and water, grooming each other, and playing together.

Catster’s JaneA Kelley wrote a commentary on the timing of the study earlier this year.

Grooming doesn't spread FIV. Two cats grooming one another by Shutterstock

Grooming doesn’t spread FIV. Two cats grooming one another by Shutterstock

In the past, FIV was thought to be highly contagious, and many cats were euthanized or segregated from healthy cats. In recent years, however, cat lovers and those in the rescue community anecdotally noticed that not only did their FIV-positive cats usually live long and uncomplicated lives, but they did not seem to pass the disease on to other cats in the household.

Proper introductions will prevent fights that lead to injury and possible transmission of FIV. Cats sniffing one another by Shutterstock

Proper introductions will prevent fights that lead to injury and possible transmission of FIV. Cats sniffing one another by Shutterstock

The study, published in The Veterinary Journal by Dr. Annette L. Litster of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, also found that mother cats did not pass FIV on to their kittens like previously thought.