to me, the key is making sure the negatives are really negative: ie, even if
they test negative on an initial snap, unless you know it's been at least
120 days since they COULD have been exposed, they could still be incubating
the virus. of course, we're all in denial, so if we get a negative test, we
believe it....

a darling tortie who tested negative at the shelter and moved into my house
with the shelter manager wasn't truly negative, and we didn't find that out
til months later when she got very ill: she was positive, and died soon
after. there were 12 other cats involved--two of them 3-month-old kittens
when brownee came into the house, as well as at least two elders--both of
those high-risk groups. we tested all of them, but at 90 days (which i now
consider too soon), but my vet suggested that i NOT retest until and unless
there were any symptoms.... that was 9 years ago.

once you know a cat is truly negative, then vaccinating them is the answer:
there are no documented cases of actual negatives ever becoming persistently
positive from living with a true positive (also tested at least twice with
enough time between the tests). i know that i've looked for those studies,
because i initially presumed there had to be some--and there's just not that
i have ever found. the current vaccines are very effective--and considering
that 70% of cats can either not be infected in the first place, at will
process the virus out, even the old 85% efficacy rate often quoted drops the
number of cats who WILL become infected way down.

one of my favorite cases to quote is that of my friend katiekalico--she was
never tested when she first came into a friend's household, and just got
vaccinated each year. at about age 4, i think, she got sick, and was
routinely tested--positive! every year since, she's been retested, and all
her sibkits have been tested: she remains positive, they remain negative.
all are vaccinated yearly.

in sanctuary experience, FIVs are as able to throw off FeLV as cats without
FIV; having a history of not dealing well with illness, however, makes yours
a bit unusual. kittens can be given the FeLV vax pretty early. if they
SHOULD be positive, tho, you really can't be sure where they got it because
of that whole exposure thing: unlike with FIV, the snap test (and the IFA,
actually) both test for ANTIGENS, not antibodies.

in another email, i'll send the most recent aafp guidelines for managing
retroviruses in cats: someone just sent it to me, saying, "now i'm REALLY
confused about testing!"


Spay & Neuter Your Neighbors!
Maybe That'll Make The Difference....

Special-Needs Coordinator, Purebred Cat Breed Rescue (
Member, SCAT (Special-Cat Action Team)
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