Feline leukemia (FeLV) is an infectious virus that inserts its genetic material into a cat’s cells. The virus can cause a suppressed immune system, anemia, dental disease, neurological disorders, and eye disease.
The virus is transmitted through cat-to-cat contact such as mutual grooming, sharing food or litter box, nasal secretions, or a mother cat’s milk. It is species-specific and cannot be passed to a dog or a person.
An infected cat must receive high-quality food (preferably wet food) and visit the vet every six months. Owners or fosters need to be vigilant about getting medical attention for even the smallest symptoms. A caretaker must be alert to subtle changes in coat condition or behavior. The virus generally presents as loss of appetite, weight loss, persistent fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Any sign of illness, diarrhea, or appetite loss should be followed up with a visit to the vet.
If you foster a FeLV+ cat, 4Paws will pay for pre-authorized vet visits at one of our participating hospitals. Two cats recently diagnosed with feline leukemia need foster homes:
Smudge doesn’t get along with other cats. She needs to be the only cat in the home. Smudge is loving with people and would thrive in any household.
Bambina gets along with other cats and with proper introduction will be fine with a calm dog. She takes a bit of time to warm up to new people but once she does, she is a true joy. She would do best in a home without small children.
An ideal foster home will have no other cats or only FeLV+ cats. If you have a room where the cat can be isolated from other cats, that will work. If your beloved cat recently died and you are feeling the emptiness but not ready to commit to a new pet, please consider fostering one of these cats.