Transmission of FIV

FIV is transmitted primarily through deep, penetrating bite wounds. In some cases, a mother cat can transmit the virus to her newborn kittens during gestation, as the kittens pass through the birth canal, or through nursing. Although these kittens may test positive for FIV for several months after birth, most will not become infected. Positive test results in a kitten younger than 6 months of age should be repeated (about every 2 months) until the kitten is at least 6 months old. FIV can also be transmitted through the transfusion of contaminated blood.

FIV affects only felines. Some of the pathogens (i.e., bacteria, parasites) that cause opportunistic infections in FIV-positive cats may be transmitted from animals to humans and could cause illness in people with compromised immune systems.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 01 Mar 2001

Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014