Is it Wrong to allow and FIV positive cat to go outside?


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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have a neighbor with an FIV positive cat that allows it outside. He is not much of a fighter but it bothers me. How do you feel about this?

Susie M.


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that you have a neighbor that has a cat that tests positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and allows her cat out.

As you may know, FIV is a contagious virus spread from cat to cat – primarily by bite wounds. My personal opinion is that a cat with FIV should be an indoor cat. This is my opinion. I think allowing a cat to go out with FIV to go out and interact with other cats is like a person having human AIDS and having unprotected sex and now telling their partner or sharing needles.

Keeping an FIV positive cat indoors also minimizes his risk of exposure to problems.

Unfortunately, I don't know there is much you can do. You can talk to your neighbor and tell her your thoughts.

An article that might be helpful to you is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.