[Felvtalk] FELV contagious

Lance linimon at fastmail.fm
Mon Aug 11 21:34:27 CDT 2014

There are many anecdotes on the FeLV lists of negatives accidentally mixing with positives and never getting sick or testing positive. I saw this happen with several of our own cats. There are posts from guardians who mixed healthy, vaccinated negatives with positives, and the negatives stayed negative.

We know that adult cats have a certain natural resistance to the virus and are less likely to be persistently infected. We do not know how strong this resistance is, and for all we know, it might vary from cat to cat.

Vaccination works well. It does not prevent 100% of infections. I’ve seen 80-85% as a figure, but I’m not sure that AAFP or any other official organization has given a number. 

I would be comfortable mixing if the negative was a healthy adult and once the negative was vaccinated. I believe the vaccine takes a little time to kick in, too, and it might require a booster if the cat has not been previously vaccinated. Your vet will know. I would also consider using a PureVax vaccine, as it is (in theory) less likely to cause a fibrosarcoma to form at the vaccination site. Your vet will be able to tell you far more about that than I could. 

Best wishes for you and Merlot,


On Aug 11, 2014, at 4:24 PM, Maya D'Alessio <mdelow at gmail.com> wrote:

> So, my one cat Merlot is clearly lonely.  He is used to being second in command to our cat Yang who passed away.
> I work with a cat rescue, and the cats there all live communally until they are adopted (with a quarantine area for cats on meds/who are really sick).  She thinks that there isn't much of a problem with bringing another cat in to the house, as long as the other cat is not immune compromised, etc.  This contrasts with what my vet says - no other cat contact.
> I'm not sure who to believe here.  Obviously FELV is contagious, and it is passed from cat to cat.  The chance of that increases with increased contact, but the lady made it seem that for the 20 years she's been running the place she has only had a handful of FELV+ cats, none of them died from it, and she had a 19 year old cat who had lived with all of them test negative for FELV recently.  I can't imagine being responsible for exposing another cat to the virus and getting them sick, but I also feel bad for Merlot who is lonely.  I was thining maybe I would consider (in six months or so), trying to take in a cat who was not going to find another home.  ie. an older cat, or a cat from a society that they were about to put down.
> What do you guys think / what has your vet said to you about this?
> -- 
> Maya D'Alessio
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