This week's adoptable pet is Benny the cat. Benny is a special cat, who is FIV+. Cat's like Benny, carry a stigma, much like people in the 70s and 80s carried a stigma when they were diagnosed as HIV+. Other than his diagnosis, Benny is just like any other cat. FIV+ cats don't require any medication! Let's learn more about Benny and other misconceptions when discussing a feline that is FIV+.

According to my friend Michaela, who volunteers at the Mower County Humane Society Benny is around 4 years old and a little shy at first but warms up quickly. He is actually a total goofball and full of playful energy. He is a volunteer favorite who was found abandoned in 2019 at the Hormel Nature Center. They believe he was a house cat who was left to fend for himself all alone.

If you really want to make a difference, adopt an FIV+ cat. What is FIV? Like HIV in humans, FIV is the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. FIV+ cats almost always get overlooked just for this reason. It's not because these cats are high maintenance but because most people are uneducated on the topic. I was at first, too.

Image Credit: Michaela Tews
Image Credit: Michaela Tews


1. Humans cannot catch FIV: It is exclusively a feline virus.

2. Cats can only spread it to other cats by blood: This means a deep, deep bite down to the gums or a very deep scratch down to the claw cuticle. Playful wrestling will not warrant this, only very rough, out-to-kill fights, which is why many shelter cats who have lived on the streets, unfortunately, have contracted it. An FIV+ cat is very unlikely to spread the virus to an FIV- cat while play-fighting. If you can only have a single cat please consider adopting an FIV+ kitty as they are considered hard adopts, sadly.

3. FIV is not a "sickness": There are no medications or special treatment of any kind required. THERE IS NO MEDICATION REQUIRED for the majority of their life. All FIV does is lower a cat's immune system, so he should not go outside. This is the only major stipulation of owning an FIV+ cat. He should be indoors, and if you notice something amiss, the cat should be taken to a vet sooner rather than later since they have low immune systems. Otherwise, nothing about owning an FIV+ cat takes extra effort or expense while healthy. They are just like normal cats.

4. Shelter employees and volunteers know better than anyone else how loving and wonderful FIV+ cats can be, and they encourage these adoptions because of the reward of giving a sweet little dumpling who is always overlooked a loving home!

Adopt Benny from the Mower County Humane Society you can get more information here. His adoption fee is also waived to an approved applicant to help Benny find a family.

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