The Stigma of FIV

In every aspect of our lives we see stigmas.  They have been created by fear, misconception and misinformation.

stig·ma noun \ˈstig-mə\  a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something

Now just think about that for a moment.  Think about the stigmas that people have that can be deadly to some of the animals that find themselves in a shelter.

One such stigma, in this very modern world of ours, is that black cats are considered bad luck. They are the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized when they find themselves in a shelter [1]. It’s suprising where this myth began, and interesting how it’s been perpetuated through the centuries of time [2]. Even more suprising, our difficulty in overcoming the myth.

 Melanistic Feline

Picture: BekBek Estes Text: Teresa Harrison Best

Our focus here is to dispel the stigma that FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is a deadly and highly contagious disease.  Like black cats, FIV cats are often left behind.  In some cases, a diagnosis of FIV is an automatic death sentence to a shelter cat.  In this very modern world of ours we have the ability to call to us so much information. Indeed, it’s right at our fingertips. So why are FIV+ cats still ostracized and killed?  Because the ‘stigma’ of disease holds sway.  How do we stop it?  We educate ourselves and others.  We can begin with three simple truths. These truths need to be made known. [3]

TRUTH: FIV is not a serious threat to other cats, pets, or even humans.

TRUTH: FIV+ cats can live long, happy, fulfilling and healthy lives.

TRUTH: FIV+ cats can live safely with NON FIV cats.

In a post on the Imagine Home page [4] we had several comments from people that are owned by FIV+ cats that live happily alongside their NON FIV housemates. Two such posts:

::Rita S Benlolo “I have 4 of them and they live among my other non fiv kitties. They are all fixed and get along peacefully.”

::Patty Shabrou “I only have one FIV+ kitty, but just try telling all four of mine that they shouldn’t be living together. They play together, wrestle, romp, chase moths, eat and sleep together. Where one goes, they all go.”

Let us together help spread the word and save the lives of FIV+ cats.  Please click on the links below. You will find them very informative.





This entry was posted in Blog, Musings on by .

About Kelly Radcliff

A tiny little house panther, abandoned, middle of winter. His little meows could be heard outside my window where he was attempting to stay warm next to the heat and air unit. A call to my landlord told me that his people had moved away days ago. That was in December of 2011. I couldn't keep him, though I wanted to. So I found him a home. In New York. I'm in Tennessee, so I had to find a way to get him there. He arrived on Christmas Eve. That is how I ended up doing what I do. There are so few advocates, rescues, fosters, adopters, and transporters and way too many kitties. I can actually do very little of any of those if at all. But I can help put a transport together. I can bring the right people together. I can inspire and can make people see that they can do something. And along the way I have made many friends, and found my sisters. Imagine Home is a creation of love. It comes from our hearts and lives in our souls. We will always be here, for there will always be kitties that need us.

4 thoughts on “The Stigma of FIV

  1. Pingback: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) | Imagine Home

  2. Anita Tock

    I saw Chance needing desperately a home. It is my understanding that he is in Ozark. I am in Forsyth. I saw Chance on facebook. He looks so sweet. I have three babies and my heart is breaking hearing his story. Please let me know and is there an adoption fee?

  3. Katie Kat

    Our family cat, a Russian Blue named Kitty who had FIV, lived to be over 20 years old before she passed away. She required a steroid shot at least once a year to help her immune system and at one point she had to have all her teeth removed. We also kept one of her kittens who turned into a beautiful long haired Blue Siamese named Snow Baby. Snow Baby was negative for FIV.


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