I have shared the stories of Polly and Lucky‘s sister in rescue, Fortune. Both of them are infected with viruses. Fortune has FIV, and Polly has FeLV. This makes them special needs cats just like me, although being a diabetic cat is a much more treatable condition than these two infections.
So you may be wondering, Bagheera, why did you say that Polly needs to go to a home where she is an only cat and Fortune can go to a home with other cats?
That is a good question and it shows that you humans really do care about us felines. You want to know the difference between the two diseases.
Fortune’s disease, feline immunodeficiency virus, is the less challenging of the two diseases. It occurs in anywhere from 2.5 to 4.4 percent of cats worldwide. It is the equivalent of the human immunodeficiency virus that infects some humans, and it creates a condition similar to AIDS in cats. Cats with this disease, just like humans with AIDS, can live for an extended period of time. Humans who care for cats with FIV do need to remain very vigilant to treat infections immediately because of the weakened immune system of the cat. As long as this is done, cats like Fortune can expect to live an essentially normal life.
And just like with AIDS in humans, FIV requires special conditions in order to spread. It is spread through deep puncture wounds, which typically only occur in very extensive fights. These typically do not take place with felines that are kept indoors, which is why cats with FIV can go to homes with other cats.
The virus that Polly has, the feline leukemia virus, is much more dangerous and spreads much more easily. Only about half a percent of all cats have this disease. It can cause a type of cancer to form in the affected cat’s blood cells.
And this disease can be spread by things like sharing litter boxes, mutual grooming, and other day to day interactions between cats. It’s not like FIV, which can only be spread by deep puncture wounds. That’s why Polly needs to be an only cat.
It is very likely that the disease will result in Polly living a shortened life. But for the right human, a cat with FeLV may be a special needs cat to take care of and show lots of love for the time they are around.
So that’s the difference between these two diseases. And these diseases make me realize that being a diabetic cat isn’t all that bad.