Devon asked in PetsCats · 6 years ago

Adopting a FeLV kitten?

I'm adopting a 3 month old kitten pretty soon and she's tested "soft positive" for Feline Leukemia Virus. I have another cat at home who is about 13 years old and I was wondering if there is anything I should know about bringing the new cat home. Is my old cat at risk for FeLV? What are the chances of the virus progressing, etc.?


I have heard that older cats develop an immunity to the virus and there are also vaccinations available, so that's why I haven't been too worried about my other cat.

I am adopting the cat from Petsmart through the Hermitage Shelter in Tucson, AZ. The lady at the store told me that "soft positive" means that there is about a 50% chance that the kitten will actually develop the virus and that she needs to be checked again in a few months.

In addition, I read that cats can live out full lives with the disease and each cat is different in how the virus progresses i.e. developing lymphoma, fighting off the virus, being healthy carriers, etc.

3 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    DON'T adopt it. Kittens born with FeLV only have a 20% chance of survival. Yes - it can and it WILL infect your other cat when it shares blood or saliva in a fight or uses the same bowls.

    What's this nonsense about "soft positive"? If the test is positive the kitten HAS Feline Leukemia. False negatives can occur but a positive is a POSITIVE. What shelter is adopting out infected kittens and telling you this BS?

    Feline Leukemia is not pretty. It destroys the white blood cells and leaves the animal unable to fight off infection. I adopted a kitten years ago that I was told was FeLV negative that ended up positive. She had bleeding inside her eye, then liver issues then her kidneys failed. I spent $900 in the first few months trying to save her and she died at only six months old. You really have that kind of money to spend and want that kind of heartache AND the potential of killing your other cat?

    edit: that is COMPLETELY wrong that "older cats develop an immunity to the virus". What idiot told you that? I can't believe you would take the advice of someone who doesn't have a clue when it could mean the DEATH of your existing cat. Yes - ADULT cats that get the disease can live awhile but they still die younger than normal cats. Others can die in just a month or so after infection. Kittens DON'T tend to survive like I already told you. But why would you chance that with your cat? Really care that little for it? I'm betting you could care less if it drops dead because you just want this "new" kitten. Ugggg why do I even bother with people like you? In a few months you'll have two dead cats - this kitten and the cat you killed.

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  • 6 years ago

    Do NOT adopt this kitten. A "soft" positive is still a positive. This rescue group is using confusing terminology with you. What is likely to have happened in this situation is that the kitten tested positive on the quick snap test most shelter use but negative on bloodwork sent out to a lab. (Think of a rapid strep test done in your doctors office versus the one they call you a few days later about). The other possibility is that the kitten tested positive on the snap test but the positive "dot" was faint. That kitten is still considered positive until multiple test confirm it is negative.

    No rescue group should suggest that a kitten with a questionable feline leukemia status is ok to be adopted into a home with ANY other cat. If the kitten is adopted into your home and ends up being positive, it will infect your adult cat unless you abide by very strict cleaning and separation rules. Aka, the kitten and your cat never share a space and you wash your hands and change clothes after handling the kitten. If the kitten is adopted into a home with another positive cat and turns out to be negative, then it will be likely the kitten will contract it from the positive cat in the home. This kitten needs to be adopted as an only cat or be placed into an experienced foster home until its FeLv status is known for sure.

    As for the life span of a positive cat, it is generally 2-3 years from the time it contracts felv. Cats that live out full lives with the disease are either incredibly lucky or more likely, were a false positive and actually never had felv.

    While I applaud you wanting to give this kitten a chance, do not put your cat at risk. As for the rescue group, I can only hope that you spoke with a well meaning, but uninformed volunteer.

    Source(s): Kitten foster mom to over 150 kittens (including a few with conflicting felv tests) and shelter volunteer.
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  • Ocimom
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    IMO don't bring any kitten home - especially one that is FELV positive. Its hard enough for a "teen" cat to adjust to a new kitten, and you are willing to risk your cat getting sick at his age.

    Pass on the kitten. I don't know where you read that FELV positive cats life full lives, but they don't. They die a lot younger then most cats.

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