Before Adoption FAQs

Should I Be Afraid to Adopt a Kitty that is Listed as FIV+?

The simple answer is NO! 

The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or FIV+) is an often misunderstood condition. FIV is what is known as a lentivirus, which is the same class of virus as the human HIV virus. A lentivirus moves very slowly in the system. Many people refer to FIV as “Feline Aids”, and very much like the human aids virus, it is harder to pass on than most people think.

We hope that the information provided here will help you to understand some of the myths surrounding this virus, and allow you to consider adopting one of these truly deserving feline companions.

Myth: The FIV Test Proves Your Cat Has A Deadly Disease
Fact: The ELISA (aka SNAP) Test — used by virtually all Shelters and vet offices — looks for antibodies to the FIV virus, not the presence of the actual virus.

A “positive” result can mean only that the cat has been exposed to the virus. False positives occur when the cat carries the antibody (which is harmless), but does not carry the actual virus.
The most frequent false positive is when kittens are tested after ingesting the antibodies from mother’s milk, and when testing cats that have been previously vaccinated for FIV. Kittens and young cats that test FIV+ may test negative at a later time due to what is known as “seroreversion”, few of these kittens actually are or will become infected. Even if momentarily present, such meaningless antibodies usually go away naturally by the time a kitten is 8 months old.

Cats that have been vaccinated will test positive for the FIV antibody for the rest of their life due to “seroconversion”, even though they are not infected. Therefore, testing of strays or adopted cats is inconclusive, since it is impossible to know whether or not they have been vaccinated in the past.

Myth: The FIV Virus Is A Serious Threat To Other Cats, Pets, Perhaps Even Humans.
Fact: It is passed from cat to cat through blood transfusions and serious, deep penetrating bite wounds.
FIV is species-specific. The “F” in FIV stands for Feline. Dogs, other pets, and humans are absolutely immune.

Myth: FIV can be spread through casual contact, such as cats sharing the same food or water bowls, or cats grooming each other.
Fact: The virus itself is astonishingly frail. It can live outside of the body for only a few seconds. The virus is extremely slow acting.

Modern research indicates that transmission requires serious physical interaction.Transmission is primarily through deep, penetrating bite wounds. Normal social interactions between FIV+ and Non-FIV cats, such as grooming, sharing food and water bowls, and community litter boxes have no known risk of transmission.

Myth: There Is No Point In Adopting An FIV+ Cat
FACT: FIV+ cats can live long, healthy lives as beloved companions.

They are susceptible to the same ailments as all other cats. While they may become ill due to progression of the virus after many years. Just remember that NON-FIV cats may die young or to diseases, too.

Myth: Cats with FIV don’t live very long.
Fact: Many cats with FIV live well into adulthood if they are receiving proper care and monitoring throughout their lives. Statistically, most FIV+ cats live as long as their indoor counterparts (13-18 years), and much longer, in fact, than cats that live outdoors (3-8 years). There are many reported cases where FIV+ cats live well into old age without ever showing any symptoms.

Most FIV+ cats die of old age diseases.


Most FIV+ cats live relatively healthy lives.


Myth: There is no treatment for FIV.
Fact: While there is no cure for FIV, the disease can be managed by keeping FIV positive cats indoors, providing a healthy, balanced diet (due to the compromised immune system in these cats, raw feeding is not recommended), and regular, at least bi-annual veterinary check-ups.

Our shelter kitty Hogarth lived to be 18 years of age and performing his staffing duties despite his FIV positive status until he passes away of old age in 2019 AND our “Thrift Store Manager” kitty, Jeb, is also FIV+. Jeb has since retired (2020) with is human Leslee, who was a long time volunteer with us. Jeb crossed peacefully over the rainbow bridge in 2021. Doing what he enjoyed most, napping in a ray of sunshine on Leslee’s patio. They will all be missed!

Please come in and visit Gunner our new Shelter Kitty!

Please don’t overlook a kitty simply because they are listed as FIV+! You may just be passing up the best kitty on earth!

Reference Sources

Where is the Adoption Application?

We have an Adoption Questionnaire that can be picked up at the shelter. Once you are approved for the adoption, an Adoption Counselor will provide you with the contract and other necessary documents to complete the process.

What Are Your Adoption Requirements?

  • Adopters Must be 18 Years of Age or Older.
  • Adopters that Rent Must Have Landlord Approval.
  • Adopters Agree that Keeping the Kitty Indoors is Best for the Health and Safety of the Kitty..

Your cat will lead a much happier, healthier and longer life if it is kept indoors, just ask any vet. The average life expectancy of an in-door only cat is over 15 years, compared to an average of 4 years for an indoor/outdoor cat.

  • Adopters Must Agree to NEVER Declaw the Kitty for Any Reason.

Declawing is CRUEL!

It is like cutting off the tips of a human finger! Declawing is a series of bone amputations. Declawing is more accurately described by the term de-knuckling and is not merely the removal of the claws, as the term “declawing” implies.

It Does Not Resolve any Issues!

Do declawed cats find homes more easily because they won’t damage furniture?

A cat can still bite a child and may have to resort to doing so since the cat has been robbed of its primary defense: its claws.

A cat whose paws hurt when digging in a litter box may avoid the litter box altogether. If someone is intolerant of a cat scratching furniture, that person is most certainly going to be intolerant of a cat biting or not using the litter box!

Do people with compromised immune systems need to declaw their cats?

No, people with compromised immune systems do NOT need to declaw their cats. In fact, declawing cats to prevent human illness is not recommended by the Center for Disease Control, the US Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health, or infectious diseases experts.

Please check out this link to learn MORE about this cruel practice.

Do You Adopt Out of State?

Yes, but we do require all potential adopters to meet our kitties in person before committing to a lifelong adoption. Sometimes people fall in love with a photo or description, but when they meet face-to-face there is not an emotional “click”. We want these kitties to be your family for their entire life, so a purrfect match is the best foundation.

Please keep in mind that young kittens do require a series of 3 FVRCP vaccinations, set three to four weeks apart to be fully protected from the diseases the vaccine was created for. Many of our adoptable (specifically those under 7 months of age) will be required to come back to our shelter to finish that series. If you can not finish the series with us we do require that you have already established a vet in your home state and have scheduled a first appointment.

You are welcome to finish that vaccine series with your own vet, however, we are not able to reduce our adoption fee or reimburse you for those visits/vaccinations if you choose to go to your own vet.

No kitty may leave our shelter without being spay/neutered & microchipped.

We do NOT ship cats!

Can My Adoption Application Be Turned Down?

Yes, we can choose to not accept an Adoption Application. Our goal is to place adoptable kitties with people who can care for them properly and meet their needs throughout their lifetime.

We do not expect adopters to be perfect guardians, but it’s important to make the right match for both the adopters’ sake and the kitty.

We may turn an adopter down who is not the right fit for a particular kitty, but can often help the adopter make the right match with another kitty.

Can I Put a Hold on a Kitty?

We do not offer this service.

What is Your Spay/Neuter Policy?

We will not advertise or list kittens as being available for adoption on the internet or through any social media until the kitten has met all of the following criteria:

  • Kitten/Cat must weigh 2.5 pounds
  • Kitten /Cat must have had its initial immunization
  • Kitten/Cat has been spay/neuter & microchipped

The kitten/cat may be released to their new family after they have sufficiently recovered from surgery.

We will schedule the adopter to bring the kitty back for all of their their last vaccines.

What Should I Think About Before Adopting a Kitty?

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when you are considering adopting a companion kitty:

1. How Long are You Away From Home Each Day?

  • You may want to consider getting 2 kitties, so they can keep each other company while you are away. Kitties are social animals and need someone that can play kitty type games and speak the same language, thus we always suggest a pair of kitties. There are exceptions to that as there are some older kitties that prefer to be the one and only in the home.

2. Do You have a Super Active Home or is it pretty slow and quiet?

  • If your home is super active, you will want a kitty that is the same, a kitty described as “shy” or timid will not do well at all in a home like this. The same holds true if your home is slow and quiet, a kitten may not be what you are looking for.

3. Do You Want a Kitty that Goes Outside?

  • Some of our adult kitties have been outside, BUT we highly encourage you to NOT let your kitties outside, regardless of how safe you feel your neighborhood is.

Here are some examples of WHY kitties should be indoors. Just take a quick look at these articles from recent events here in Salem, Oregon!

Which is Better, a Male or Female?

This all comes down to the kitty you choose and their personality.

ALL cats have the ability to spray! It is not just a boy thing.

If your kitty is spay/neutered early, and feels comfortable with its surroundings and family, it should feel no desire or need to spray. I Already Have an Older Kitty – What Age Kitty Should I Get? Depending on how old your resident cat is, should determine the age of the companion you choose to get. You want to match energy levels.

  • If your cat is 9 years old and enjoys relaxing, the last thing you want to do is get a high energy kitten.

You will need to do proper introductions with any existing pets in the home, don’t just plop your new kitty in the middle of the room and expect it to all work out fine.

Please go to our After Adoption FAQs to see more on how to introduce your new kitty.

What if I Adopt a Cat and it Doesn’t Work Out?

When we adopt out our kitties, we always want to make sure that you and the cat are happy. If for any reason an adoption doesn’t work out, we always want our kitties back and will work with you to find a different kitty.

We do ask that you allow your new kitty time to adjust to its new environment and people. Please do not expect your new kitty to adjust within a few hours, sometimes, depending on the kitty, it can take a few weeks to even a few months for very shy kitties.

What Supplies Should I Get Before I Bring a Kitty Home?

Our Adoption Center has basic supplies, cardboard carries, litter, toys & flea medications for purchase.

The basics you will need: Litter box, litter, litter scoop, food, food and water bowls, bed, toys and LOVE.