FIV in Cats: 6 Foods You Should Keep in Mind

Oct 17, 2022by Suzie Cyrenne

Finding out that your feline family member is afflicted with FIV in cats is definitely alarming.

And while it’s not uncommon that most people immediately resort to conventional medicine to deal with this health issue, there are actually natural options that you can use to support your cat during this illness.

I will walk you through what these natural options are in just a bit to help you give your feline family member the immediate and proper attention he needs when FIV unexpectedly gets in the picture.

How about we start things off by finding out what exactly FIV in cats is?


What is FIV in cats?

FIV in cats—or feline immunodeficiency virus as it is technically referred to—is a type of retrovirus disease that impairs the immune system. It mostly targets the white blood cells, which comprise a cat’s body’s first line of defense against infections.

What makes FIV really unique is that its adverse effects to a cat’s immune system will only become apparent after several years. And when its effects become full-blown, exposure to typically harmless fungi, viruses, and bacteria will mean serious health problems for your feline family member.

While cases of cat FIV are observed worldwide, it is still not considered as a common health issue since not more than 5% of the global population of cats have been infected by the same.

Moreover, FIV in cats has a number of different strains, with some being more aggressive and having a higher transmissibility rate compared to others.

Now we’ve got that taken care of, let’s find out if FIV in cats can be passed on to humans…


Can humans get FIV from cats?

Interestingly, the cat FIV virus is closely related with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and may even progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in cats in some cases.

But the thing is FIV in cats is a virus that’s specific to felines and cannot be transmitted from cats to humans or vice versa. Just to clear things up, FIV can only be passed on to other cats.

Next, let’s talk about the signs of cat FIV…


What are the indicators of FIV in cats?

Here are the common feline immunodeficiency virus symptoms that you should keep an eye on:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Recurring skin issues
  • Sudden lethargy and loss of appetite
  • Hiding and skulking
  • Frequent eye inflammation
  • On and off bouts of fever
  • Bulging lymph nodes
  • Constant episodes of constipation or diarrhea
  • Recurring oral health problems

It is crucial to take note that these cat FIV indicators will typically manifest years after initial infection. Although these issues tend to start out mild, they will become progressively worse as time goes by.

Now, let’s discuss how a cat can be infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus…


How does a cat get FIV?

The most common mode of transmission of FIV in cats is through biting, where the infected feline’s saliva gets really deep within another cat’s skin. The feline immunodeficiency virus becomes activated as soon as it is able to settle in the inner skin layers like the dermis or subcutis.

This is the reason why male, unneutered cats are more vulnerable to this disease because of their generally aggressive and territorial attributes.

On the other hand, FIV in cats can also be passed on by a mother cat to her kittens should she be already afflicted with the virus during her pregnancy. However, this mode of transmission is considered rare.

Additionally, transmission of cat FIV through blood transfusion is also possible but deemed very uncommon. There is still no clear indication if the feline immunodeficiency virus can pass on by means of sexual contact, though.

Next, let’s find out if FIV in cats can be cured…


Can cats be cured of FIV?

The short answer is no because the consequences of cat FIV will be permanent in nature once the infection has set in. And given the fact that there is no available vaccine for the feline immunodeficiency virus, the risk of infection will always be there.

This is one of the biggest reasons why boosting your feline family member’s overall immune system health as early as now is essential so you can keep on giving the quality of life he truly deserves even with the risk of FIV in cats.

Now, let’s determine how long cats with FIV can live…


How long is the lifespan of cats with FIV?

There is no definite answer as regards the lifespan of a cat infected with FIV. However, should your feline family member become afflicted with this disease, making sure to give him the right nutrition he needs is essential to keep his immune system ideal.

Having the right nutrition—particularly natural foods that are loaded with antioxidants—helps maintain a cat’s immune response so he will remain resilient against health problems that may get in the picture along the way.

And while we’re on the subject, here are the natural foods to give your feline family member during FIV…


Natural foods that give the best support during FIV in cats


An apple is an antioxidant powerhouse.

According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), apples contain a variety of strong antioxidants that include chlorogenic acid, procyanidin, catechin, coumaric acid, quercetin, and gallic acid, among others.

The researchers emphasized that while all apples are loaded with antioxidants, the potency of the same tends to diminish when processed or cooked. In short, using them fresh is the ideal way to go.

To use apples in supporting your feline family member during FIV in cats, mince no more than two small pieces and add them to your pet’s regular meals. I also recommend not peeling the apples since most of the quercetin can be found in the skin. Just wash the apples thoroughly before preparing them and you’re good to go.


Blueberries contain some of the highest antioxidant levels among berries.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) reveals that blueberries have been found to possess the highest cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) among fruits that are commonly consumed in the United States.

The study also points out that due to their very high antioxidant content, blueberries can help keep oxidative stress levels low and may even stave off the risk of cancer.

If you’re looking to use blueberries to support your pet during FIV in cats, mix in two to three pieces of these berries in your pet’s food per day. Make sure not to add more since too much blueberries can cause your feline family member’s blood sugar level to surge.


Pecans are simply loaded with antioxidants.

The NCBI shares that when it comes to antioxidant content, pecans contain up to 10.6 mmol of antioxidants per 100 grams, which is deemed as one of the highest with regard to the common foods consumed around the world.

To use pecans in supporting your feline family member during FIV in cats, finely chop no more than three of these nuts and add them in your pet’s meals. Remember not to give them more than three daily since pecans have a high fat content.


Raspberries are rich in antioxidants that promote cardiovascular health.

A different study published in the NCBI pointed out that raspberries are loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins that help lessen oxidative stress and inflammation. Anthocyanins are deemed to be very beneficial in keeping cardiovascular issues at bay.

It is important to take note that heart disease is one of the common issues that manifest when a cat is infected with FIV.

If you’re looking to use raspberries to support your pet during FIV in cats, integrate no more than two pieces of these berries with your pet’s meals per week. Alternatively, they can be given as a special weekly treat.


Strawberries are so rich in antioxidants; they have various health benefits.

In another piece of research highlighted in the NCBI, researchers observe that strawberries are not just rich in anthocyanins, but also other phenolic compounds that help stave off obesity, harmful microbes, inflammations, and diabetes.

The proponents of the study even add that these antioxidants may help reduce cancer risk, too.

To use strawberries in supporting your feline family member during FIV in cats, slice up half a strawberry and mix it with your pet’s food. Remember to only use strawberries that are prominently red since this is the sign that it contains high anthocyanin content.


Virgin coconut oil is an all-around antioxidant source.

According to the IIUM Journal Publication, virgin coconut oil exhibits various beneficial properties like being antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-obesity, and anti-osteoporosis, not to mention its being very abundant in antioxidants.

If you’re looking to use virgin coconut oil to support your pet during FIV in cats, add half a teaspoon of VCO to your pet’s meals per day. Just remember to go for food-grade virgin coconut oil when using this application.

And while we’re on the subject of natural options to go for when it comes to supporting your cat during FIV, here’s something that you should consider including in your pet care checklist…


A natural product that will help take your FIV in cats home care kit up a notch

Made with premium natural ingredients and a gentle holistic approach, Zumalka’s IMMUNOPET is designed to provide an overall support to your beloved cat’s immune system.

Besides enabling an increase in hemoglobin levels and acting as a purifier of blood and lymph nodes, IMMUNOPET also improves white blood cell count so your feline family member’s body will become more resilient against numerous types of bacterial and viral infections.


Next, let’s touch on the frequently asked questions or FAQ’s about FIV in cats…



Is Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and FIV in cats the same?

The short answer is no. Contrary to popular opinion, cat FIV and FeLV may be caused by a virus and may also have similar symptoms, but they are distinct and separate from each other. One of the key differences between the two is that FeLV often leads to cancer like leukemia and lymphoma.


What happens if a cat with FIV bites you?

Although there is a possibility that you will get a nick or cut, there is no chance that you will be vulnerable to feline immunodeficiency virus transmission. This is because FIV can only be passed on to cats and not to humans. Remember to wash and sanitize the bite thoroughly, though, since the other infection-causing bacteria may be present in your cat’s saliva.


Can a cat with FIV live with other cats?

The short answer is no. Regardless of how well-mannered a cat is, there is still a chance that he will engage in territorial disputes and similar scuffles with his feline neighbors. Once an FIV-infected cat bites another, chances are the virus will be passed on. Should your cat be afflicted with FIV, it is best if he remains the only cat in the house.


Can a cat with FIV go outside?

The short answer is no. There are two very crucial reasons why a cat with FIV cannot go outside: first, he could be exposed to typically harmless fungi, viruses, and bacteria that can trigger serious health issues for him, and second, he could pass on the virus to other cats.


So that pretty much wraps up my blog post on the natural foods that you can give your feline family member should he be afflicted with FIV in cats.

Just to emphasize, caring for a cat that is affected with the feline immunodeficiency virus can be a bit tricky due to the things that you need to keep an eye out for.

In case you’re looking to ensure that you will only give your feline family member the care and attention he needs during this disease, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE HEALTH ADVISOR GUIDANCE as soon as you can.

Besides getting tips and recommendations from our Natural Health Advisors, they will also walk you through on the products and treatment options that best fit your animal's health needs.

Naturally with you and your pet, every step of the way!




About the author

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.

Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.

Through the guidance of her mother-in-law and fellow natural health expert, Denyse Lessard, Suzie constantly devotes herself to create premium pet products that are aimed at dealing with the root causes of wellness problems and not just their symptoms.

Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.

Find out more about Suzie when you click HERE.

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