I agree with Maureen. The link I provided you with reiterates what she is saying. But I don't know who told you that a neg IFA test still means the cat has FeLV. The test has to be a positive for the cat to be persistently viremic.

Like I said, there are so many possibilities with this disease as to how it affects a cat individually. It's all up to their immune system. Adult cats have a greater chance of clearing the virus than a kitten whos immune systems has not been established.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Maureen Olvey" <molvey...@hotmail.com>
To: <felvtalk@felineleukemia.org>
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2011 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Felvtalk] Question re positives & negatives


I haven't had a chance to check out this link so it may cover everything I say but I wanted to share what I've learned about FeLV just in case it didn't cover everything. I've read a lot of websites, books and talked with several vets about all this. My understanding is very rudimentary but here's what I've read:

If a cat test positive on the IFA test then it has FeLV and is shedding the virus in the saliva and blood. This test looks for the virus in the white blood cells so once the virus has gotten that far it means the immune system wasn't able to extinguish the virus and almost 100 percent chance the cat will always be positive and shedding the virus and can infect other cats. No need to do any further testing.

At this point, if the IFA test is negative it can mean a couple of different things. 1) It can mean the ELISA test done in the vet's office was just plain wrong. It's a sensitive test and can easily produce false positives. It should never be solely relied upon as a diagnosis for FeLV. 2) A negative IFA test could also mean that the cat really has gotten the virus, which means the ELISA test was correct, but the virus hasn't reached the white blood cells. If this is the case, the cat still has a chance for the immune system to either extinguish the virus or put it into latentcy. From what I've read about 40% of these cats will extinguish the virus or put it into latentcy. But since all cats don't extinguish the virus if this first IFA test shows negative, to be certain the IFA test should be repeated a few months later.

If the cat has actually put the virus into latentcy it means the virus is in the bone marrow but isn't being shed so it is not infective to other cats. However, the virus can be brought out of latentcy even years later if the cat becomes ill or has some other major stressors. But many cats who do initially put the virus into latentcy will later on extinguish the virus so you just never know. The vet book I just read said that the only way to find out if a cat has the virus in the bone marrow, meaning it's dormant/latent, is to do a biopsy of the bone marrow. That means that there really may be lots of cats out there that have contracted FeLV but put it into latentcy and the owner never even knows. The books said only about 10% of exposed cats will put it into latentcy though. So most will either extinguish the virus or become carriers (persistently viremic).

So I believe the woman who told you that a negative IFA test still means the cat has FeLV is wrong and myself I wouldn't put her in with positive cats until you know her true status. Or, at least get Poppy vaccinated before putting her in there with positive cats.

It does take continued and prolonged exposure for a cat to get the FeLV virus into it's system. Cats who eat after each other only on rare occasions are not likely to spread the virus. My thoughts are that if Poppy is in a cat condo and occasionally hisses at another cat it's not likely that would be enough exposure for the negative cat to get it. Especially if the negative is a healthy adult cat. That's not a guarantee though so you have to decide for yourself about that one.

The vaccination has become much more effective. Seems like I read somewhere that it was 90%. I have a friend who has had several FeLV positive cats living with negatives and even a couple FIV positive cats, for many years. She has way more cats than you. All the FeLV negative cats, including the FIV positive cats, get FeLV vaccinations every year and have never gotten FeLV. They all live together, share food and water bowls, etc. She's not the only one with these kinds of results with a house where positive and negatives hangout together.

Can't think of anything else right now. It's very confusing though. I have more cats than you and in March a two year old died and we found out she had FeLV even though she tested negative as a kitten. I'm going through the process of re-testing all the other cats right now. I've only gotten 5 tested so far but all 5 have been negative, thank the Lord. Four out of those five lived with the FeLV positive cat for one or two years, have never been vaccinated and still didn't pick up the virus, or were able to extinguish it.

Good luck making the decision. It's tough. It's a fatal virus and you can't play with it but at the same time there's so much misinformation out there and a lot of unecessary pre-cautions or euthanizations are taking place.

“I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t….the pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.” – Mark Twain

From: longhornf...@verizon.net
To: felvtalk@felineleukemia.org
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 13:59:38 -0500
Subject: Re: [Felvtalk] Question re positives & negatives


I've done a lot of research myself and I asked my vet many questions. Here
is a link that was very helpful to me and I had my vet review this in case
she had a difference of opinion. This is very accurate information. I think
it will answer many of your questions. Here is the link:

I will say that it's not worth the risk getting your other cats infected to socialize Poppy. She will be fine confined, just give her as much attention as possible at least until she has been cleared of the virus (meaning she is
not permanently positive for leukemia).

Also, I am in the same boat as you. My kitten (Crash) that I fostered, then
adopted turned out to be FeLV negative this past Nov. 2010. On March 10,
2011 he had to be put down because he was in very bad shape. He was anemic,
had a hear murmur and his oxygen level was next to nothing. He was fine 2
days prior. I actually took him in because he did not have a bowel movement
in 2 days (we were treating him for diarrhea) and I just thought his new
food was working well. Now my Ragdoll cat is at risk because I did not get
him vaccinated against leukemia because he is strictly and indoor cat. So
far, he has been negative but will test again on May 9th. I so want to get
him another companion. It keeps him active and it's such a joy to watch to
kitties play. Had I known that Crash was contagious with leukemia, I would
have never exposed my other cat. This disease is fatal, with no cure. But I
will say that the vaccine is not 100% (but none of them are) effective at
all times, but it's better than not being protected at all.

I hope that Poppy's immune system clears the virus. You may also get her
siblings tested again to be safe and the mother as well.

Good luck! I hope this info helps!!


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