How Your Cat's Vaccines Protect Them From The Cat Equivalent Of HIV

When you take your cat to the veterinarian for a series of vaccinations, you're protecting them from a wide variety of illnesses. Everything from the common cold to rabies is warded off by proper vaccination, but that's not all. Cats can contract a virus very similar to human HIV, which can significantly impact their lives or even result in an early death. If you want to keep your kitty safe, read this guide on the one vaccine your kitty must receive and what it's protecting them from.

The FIV Infection

FIV, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, is an illness which bears a strong similarity to HIV. Unlike humans, cats can contract it in many ways, including sharing food, water, coming into contact with bodily secretions from other infected cats, or they can even be born with it if their mother was infected while pregnant.

There's no exact way to tell if your cat has FIV without a blood test. This blood test will look for proof of the body fighting FIV, and if positive, it will indicate that your cat is infected.


Many cats can have FIV for many years without any significant symptoms. Like HIV, the damage FIV does is to the immune system. Over time, it gradually weakens the immune system until it's insufficient to fight off other viruses and bacteria. This means that your cat may get sick easily, come down with other illnesses that other kitties have even with minor interaction between them, and it will take longer for them to recover than the other cats.

FIV is often fatal in the sense that it often damages the immune system to the point where something as common as a simple cold could potentially kill a cat.

FIV Vaccine

The good news is, there's a vaccine for FIV. One injection introduces your cat's body to the dead virus, which doesn't have any risk of infecting your cat with the full-fledged virus. Instead, your cat's body will analyze the virus, build antibodies against it, and then will be able to destroy it if they ever come into contact with the real thing without getting sick.

This vaccine is typically recommended for all cats and kittens, and the earlier your cat receives it, the better. Getting this vaccine can also protect healthy cats from other kitties in your household that are carriers of FIV.

Getting FIV is something that no cat should have to go through. If you want to be a responsible pet parent, make sure that your cat is receiving this vaccination at their next veterinary visit. For more information, contact a vet office like Apple Valley Animal Hospital.