7 Myths about FeLV Cats

Cats with Feline Leukemia Virus deserve forever homes just as much as any other cats! At The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), we have rooms full of cats that have tested positive for FeLV. Many adopters will not even enter those rooms or give those cats a chance. Cats with FeLV are loving and happy and enjoying life just like any other cat. Read on to find out 7 myths about FeLV cats and the facts that dispel them, as well as some adoptable FeLV cats from HSSA!


It is very difficult for a cat to catch Feline Leukemia Virus.


FeLV is a retrovirus that can be passed from a mama cat to her kittens, through intimate or casual contact like grooming, or through using community food bowls or litter boxes. FeLV is highly contagious.

Boots 796429 HSSA

Boots 796429


You can tell a cat has FeLV just by looking at it.


You can’t tell just by looking, because almost all FeLV positive cats look perfectly normal. A cat that looks sickly may not have FeLV. A simple “snap” blood test is used to detect positive or negative status.

Buddy 801260 HSSA

Buddy 801260


Cats can get over FeLV.


A positive cat or kitten is positive for life, but the virus can be dormant, resulting in a negative test result following a positive result. It is possible that the viral shedding could begin again at some point.

Eli 818057 HSSA

Eli 818057


Cats that are FeLV positive will have serious health issues and die young.


An FeLV positive cat or kitten may not die at a young age or have serious health problems if he or she is in a stable, stress-free environment. It is important to provide FeLV cats (and all cats) with good health care and nutrition, and yearly veterinary check ups are mandatory.

Isa 796683 HSSA

Isa 796683


FeLV cats must be the only cat in a household. They cannot live with negative cats, only other positive cats.


An FeLV positive cat or kitten can be adopted and live with negative cats if the existing cats have been tested and are vaccinated yearly against FeLV.

Layla 788226 HSSA

Layla 788226


All shelters euthanize FeLV positive cats and kittens. They’re impossible to adopt out.


All positive cats and kittens do not have to be euthanized unless they are truly sick and suffering. They can be adopted into loving, caring homes and live rich and rewarding lives. At HSSA, we do our best to find all FeLV felines loving forever homes.

Boots 807509 HSSA

Boots 807509


FeLV cats and kittens are not good companions.


FeLV cats actually tend to be more loving and affectionate than other cats. They know they’re special and their adopter is, too!

Please share this info with your friends to help change the attitude towards cats with FeLV. At HSSA, we do our best to vaccinate and reduce the spread of this disease. We don’t give up on cats with FeLV, because we know they deserve loving and peaceful homes, just like the rest.

Do you have questions about FeLV cats? Do you love a cat with FeLV? Leave us a comment below letting us know!

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