What Can I do to Stop my Cat From Spreading Feline AIDS?


Hi, my cat, Charlie is three years old. He has been diagnosed with feline aids. He is a outdoor cat so it is impossible for me to keep him indoors and he tends to be a fighter. He has many wounds that are not healing and become abcesses due to the aids. Otherwise he is relatively healthy and happy.

Our vet has recommended that we have him humanely euthanised, due to the fact that he is spreading the virus when he fights with other cats, but I am very attached to him and it breaks my heart to have a healthy cat put down for this reason alone?

South Africa

Feline AIDS is caused by the feline immunodeficiency virus (also known as FIV). FIV is related to HIV, the virus that causes human AIDS. There is no evidence that FIV poses a health risk to humans.

Like HIV, FIV is not highly contagious. It is spread by fighting. And like HIV, untreated FIV takes seven to 10 (or more) years to be fatal. Sadly, there is no safe or effective method to treat FIV.

Like your vet, I am worried that your cat is spreading FIV to other individuals in the area. The sort of fighting that leads to abscesses is exactly the type of behavior that transmits the disease.

Also, remember that the virus may have weakened your cat’s immune system. He is therefore more likely to suffer from serious infections and other complications from fights and injuries that occur outdoors.

However, I don’t agree that euthanasia is the best option for your cat. I recommend instead that you keep him indoors. You state that he cannot be kept inside, but you don’t offer many details that indicate why. Have you truly made a concerted effort to keep Charlie indoors?

I recommend that you seriously try to keep him inside. There may be a difficult adjustment period as he gets used to his new lifestyle. But if he is like most cats I have known, he ultimately will adapt and thrive.

If you do not keep Charlie indoors you will be endangering his health as well as that of other cats in your area.

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