Feline Leukemia Virus Risk Factors

The feline leukemia virus affects cats of all ages, but kittens remain the most susceptible. With close to three percent of cats within the United States diagnosed with this viral infection, it's important to realize if your cat is at risk.

Information about the Feline Leukemia Virus

Feline leukemia spreads through body fluids, particularly saliva and mucus. While the FIV/FELV vaccine prevents the disease, many pet owners skip the vaccination due to the cost or concerns of overmedicating their pets. Even if an animal has the FIV/FELV vaccination, on average the shot is only 80 percent effective.

Kittens Are High Risk for Feline Leukemia

A mother cat easily passes the virus to her kittens before birth or through her milk. It is uncommon for kittens born to an infected mother to escape the communicable disease. Another way the virus spreads is through grooming. If a kitten has a small scratch from siblings, the infected mother spreads the virus when her saliva gets into the scratch.

Keep Your Cat Indoors

One of the best ways to prevent the feline leukemia virus is by keeping your cat indoors. Outdoor cats do get into catfights. One bite from an infected cat is all it takes. By keeping your cat inside, you prevent the risk of FELV completely.