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How contagious is feline leukemia? We have a 10 year old...

<< Back to: rec.pets.cats: Feline Leukemia FAQ

Question by KathyKitty
Submitted on 6/21/2004
Related FAQ: rec.pets.cats: Feline Leukemia FAQ
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How contagious is feline leukemia?  We have a 10 year old cat named Killian.  A couple of months ago, my husband brought in a stray that I named Meowser.  We kept her in the basement until she could be tested.  Killian and Meowser never made contact.  It turned out that Meowser had feline leukemia, so we took her to a no kill shelter that takes in felv cats.  
This week, Killian vomited 3 times in 2 days so I took her to the vet.  She took a blood test.  She is healthy in every way but she tested positive for feline leukemia!  How could this be?  The vet said that she may have had it all of her life.  My husband thought that she had been tested for it before but can't fine the records, he has moved around a lot.  
I am devastated!  Is it possible that she caught it from Meowser?  What did we do wrong?  After Meowser left we got rid of her food and water bowl and her litter.  Killian didn't go in the basement until 2 weeks after Meowser was gone.  Could we have missed some urine or feces somewhere?  Would it still be contaminated 2 weeks later?
I did go downstairs to spend time with Meowser and then came back upstairs but always washed my hands.  Could it be on my clothes?  Meowser never licked me and Killian doesn't lick either.  Meowser had ear mites, could Killian have gotten an ear mite and the virus?  The vet never said anything about ear mites.
I just can't believe this!  Is there anyway to know if Killian has had this all of her life or got it two months ago from Meowser?  What are her chances of survival?  Does it depend on how long she's had it? Do you think that it's possible that she somehow got it from Meowser?
Sorry so long, and thanks for listening.  I sure hope that someone can help answer my questions.  What's the next step that I should take?
By the way, Killian stopped throwing up.  We stopped giving her the Pounce tuna treats.  Don't know if that was the cause.  She seems healthy in every way!!! She really never gets sick!

Answer by Bill_Bradsky
Submitted on 8/15/2004
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I'm not a vet, but my in-laws had a cat that died of it and then they got more cats (not too sure how long they waited) that also died of it.  Since this incident, my wife heard that you are supposed to wait 6 months before getting new cats.


Answer by Liz
Submitted on 8/23/2004
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Hi there, Feline leukemia is NOT contagious to anyone, My sister resuced a cat from a center, he tested negative when she got him, but he died 2 years later of leukemia, it was his destiny to be loved by her, to have a home, he needed to be tested negative, he was!!!! Wierd huh? But dont worry, i have 6 cats of my own and none are positive, but even if one tested positive, i wouldnt worry about it as i know its not linked to the others, good luck, love him well , take care xx......also, the tuna might be too rich for the cat!! try chicken


Answer by oobkikmlo
Submitted on 11/29/2004
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ask yourself is leukimia contagious in children? its the same case with cats it really isnt at all


Answer by jeff
Submitted on 12/26/2004
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you are an idiot. leukaemia is not contageous. fool


Answer by Jessica
Submitted on 1/11/2005
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Feline leukimia is VERY, VERY Contageous


Answer by locogatos6
Submitted on 2/15/2005
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I noticed your question, even though it was a while ago that you asked, YES feline leukemia, is VERY contagious.  It is passed even through saliva.  I believe that where you had your new cat could stay contaminated for quite some time.  However, on the bright side, you should know, that cats with this disease can still live a very comfortable and long happy life.  They do take more care, but if you love your cat as much as I love mine you will understand.  I had 5 cats, and today, my cat, which is 100 percent indoors, escaped and was mangled by the neighbor's rotwieler.  It is very sad indeed to lose a pet you love, especially when I think of mine as kids.  


Answer by Ash
Submitted on 6/19/2005
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My cousin had a kitten she bought from the pound... it ended up dying two days later from Feline Leukopenia...same thing. Well, the vet told her that she wouldnt be able to have another cat for a month and everything in the house would have to be washed. Including furniture. It is contagious and fatal in most cases.


Answer by hahaha
Submitted on 6/20/2005
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Answer by theguy
Submitted on 6/21/2005
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Um... leukemia is a type of cancer, and in case you didn't know, cancer is in no way contagious. Therefore it's impossible for Killian to have caught it from Meowser (or anyone else for that matter).


Answer by Ohm0
Submitted on 6/26/2005
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Even if Killian tested negative earlier in life, the virus can dwell in the bone or nervous tissues, rather than the blood stream, therefore causing blood tests to come up negative.

As I have also understood it, cats are very resistant to the virus after a year of age; and adult is difficult to infect without concurrent depression of the immune system.  My mom had two cats that played together - when one was found to have FeLV, the other didn't contract it!  If it was spread from Meowser to Killian, it was quite a freak chance.

I would assume Killian already had the virus present from a younger age, if she does test positive now.  You took great safeguards, and definitely shouldn't put any fault on yourself!

As far as how easily the virus is spread, or survival periods for infected cats, I have no clue.  I hope this offers some reassurance, though.  Best luck to both of them!


Answer by Koschei
Submitted on 6/27/2005
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You named your cat Meowser?  That name sucks.


Answer by Ila002
Submitted on 7/7/2005
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Feline Leukemia is VERY contagious!  Be extra careful, if your cat has been around a cat positive fo FeLV take that cat to the vet immediately.  This disease is fatal!


Answer by johnjackson
Submitted on 7/21/2005
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roflmfao omfg bbq lol hf gl gg



Answer by EiStien
Submitted on 8/15/2005
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The vet has needles for that kind of thing but weather you want the cat to wake up is another story


Answer by Kylie
Submitted on 8/24/2005
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KathyKitty, I am sorry to hear about your cat.  Feline Leukemia is transmitted from either in-utero, infected feces, cat fights or other types of body fluids. The virus luckily cannot live outside of the body for very long.  It will die within hours.  I am curious to if you had your cat vaccinated against felv? Also kept up yearly for this vaccine and if he was allowed outdoors to come into contact with other possible infected cats.  Although vaccines are the best preventative there is always a risk in the cat contracting this deadly virus.  Also it is the pet owners responsibility to keep a known positive cat indoors with no contact to neighbor cats that it could potentially infect.  Chances are if he has had the virus all his life, he is pretty lucky for survival rate is low with cats that have been infected from the mother.  As long as you are aware of his virus and keep him healthy, good food, proper health care he can live a healthy life.  Just be prepared if you bring in a new cat or kitten chances of it contracting Felv is highly great.  I hope this helps.
Good luck


Answer by Pookie
Submitted on 10/9/2005
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I had a cat named Tear Drop that  had feline leukemia. Her signs of showing that she had this disease didn’t start till she was about a year old. She always seemed to be a little different than her brothers an sisters. She sort of acted retarded, she couldn’t run straight or she would run into walls because she couldn’t stop. One Fri. morning I got up and did my morning duty (feed Tear Drop) before I left for school, and when I got home that afternoon she had vomit all over her face. Tear Drop wouldn’t eat or drink so I brought my dad in the house, and the first thing he said was she has  feline leukemia and she needs to be put down, because we had four week old kittens in the office. My dad and my mom went out a couple miles away from the house a shot her, because it was too late for us to do anything for her. In that litter of kitten that we had in the office one of the kittens caught feline leukemia, and she died about a month ago.

To answer your question feline leukemia can travel from cat to cat very easily. That what happen to my cat, and that what the Vet told us too. Good luck with your future cats and God Bless.


Answer by Beingoftrees
Submitted on 10/24/2005
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Cats who develop FL sometimes go years with showing signs of infection. Your cat could have contracted it within a few months of life. The best signs I can give you that your cat is doing well, Keep an eyes out for "buggers" in the cats nose. Heavy buildup of mucus in the nostrals is a sign that things are getting serious.


Answer by Bonnie
Submitted on 12/14/2005
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catching? LEUKEMIA? its a cancer caused by screw ups in ur genetics..just how is it catching?
if she has leukemia then she is probably going to die...shell be fine for a while but will start to get sick yes the food probably caused the vomiting but if shes fine now shes probably got ages to go dont worry about her its perfectly possible nothing will happen because of the leukemia


Answer by babydoll14
Submitted on 12/29/2005
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hey am 14 n when a was little ma cat cat feline leukemia she was a really healthy cat up until then and a dont fink its contagious sadly we had to have her put down you could see she was in a lot of pain andit might just be the best thing for you cat


Answer by yelpir
Submitted on 1/6/2006
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you need to chill out. vets make things up to make more money for temselves. I know a VERY successfull vet and he says that half the money he makes is from pet owners that really dont have a clue and panic too quickly.


Answer by sharall
Submitted on 2/15/2006
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KathyKitty, you are a dumbass. One you should give her the Pounce tuna treats and two, you are a fag. Lukemia is not contagious. dumbass


Answer by Payt
Submitted on 3/30/2006
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no negatives
don't know


Answer by Sparkydragon
Submitted on 4/22/2006
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Leukaimia is a non-contagious condition of the blood that can ONLY be gotten if the victim is born with it or develops it over time. There is absolutely no way that Meowser could have given Killan leukaemia, even if there was direct contact between them, and especially not after 2 weeks.  Don't blame yourself. You did all the right things by keeping Meowser away from Killan, and don't be disheartned; a leucaemic cat can still live a relatively normal and happy life, given proper medical attention.


Answer by P.K.
Submitted on 4/23/2006
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Was Killian recieving the yearly vacination for the virus? If she was then she had to have been tested first. Does she ever go outside? Many cats carry the virus.Did the kitten spray on any thing outside the basement? Virus is spread just like human aids fluids and blood so you can not spread it from one animal to another. I have 10 indoor cats 2 are positive and 8 are not They are all living together, 50-50 chance of spreading the virus. They all love each other so I won't keep them apart. I don,t think Killian could have contracted the virus that quickly, there is a incubation time on most viruses. Don't let your kind heart be broken you and your husband are just showing your love and protection for animals in need of someones help!!!!!  I believe Killian would have done the same as you for the kitten if she could. We never are prepared to loose a best buddy, live each day with Killian to the fullest.  hope this helps you feel better
        Your fellow animal lover,


Answer by Boof
Submitted on 4/23/2006
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Leukemia is a cancer, meaning it's basically a malfunction in the reproduction cycle of cells. What this implies is that it is not at all contagious since its base is genetic.


Answer by Linda
Submitted on 5/25/2006
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I don't know the answer to any of this  but I'm hoping someone can answer you.  I have a similar problem i am house sitting for 3 cats.  The owners recently found out 2 of the 3 have Feline Leukemia.  I am extremely worried about bringing it home to my cat!!  I was my hands after coming home, but im worried now, b/c you seemed to take alot of precautions and your cat got it too

so Can it be transferred on clothing? can it still be brought home if i wash my hands?  If they sniff my shoes can this transfer it as well?  Someone please help!!



Answer by EmmaUK
Submitted on 5/28/2006
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Does Killiian go outdoors? Leukaemia can be caught by being bitten by another cat. I doubt she contracted it off Meowser if they were never in contact. There is no reason why Killian can't live a normal life from here on in, you just have to keep her strictly indoors and watch her closely for signs of infection.


Answer by sharon
Submitted on 7/15/2006
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what shelter takes in FELV positive cats?  I have a 12 wk old positive kitten that needs to be placed. Please email me at shasheny@optonline.net.


Answer by Morsels
Submitted on 8/6/2006
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Sorry to hear about your cat, I wish i was an expert so i could tell you more, but i did come across this:

"FeLV doesn't survive long outside a cat's body, normally less than a few hours under normal household conditions."


Answer by Reina
Submitted on 8/17/2006
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I've heard that feline leukemia IS contagious.


Answer by Muppy666
Submitted on 8/25/2006
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Sorry if these are out of order I just took which ever ones I saw when I scrolled up...
It is possible for her to have got it from Meowser, I don't think there is a way to tell unless you have blood tests from before Meowser or your vet can tell how far in she is by the symptoms. As for how long she has to live, there's really no telling, my Aunt has two cats, brother and sister, who both have it, the vet says they could live 9 months or they could live 4 years she really doesn't know. The risk of getting it really depends on the cat's age, heath, lifestyle and environment. It could have been on your clothes but that depends on the amount of time separating when you were with one cat to when you were with the other, feline leukemia can only last a few hours outside the body. How long she's had it with out treatment does tell something about how long she will live as said above once cats are infected they can't be expected to live for more than 3 or 4 years. It is probable she got it from infected ear mites. As for your next step, talk to your vet and check out this site for treatment options.
Hope this helps

Yours truly,


Answer by s
Submitted on 9/6/2006
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Well. I know that feline leukemia is extremly contagious. Did you ever use the same food bowl for both? Also you shoudl kow, it can be treated. You can greatly extend the life of a cat with feline leukemia.


Answer by julia Pennington
Submitted on 9/11/2006
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I may be in a similar situation and am panicked. Can you advise me more on your situation?


Answer by Joanie Farmer
Submitted on 10/3/2006
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not sure if this is still needed due to the date, but, know this.. felv is contracted for the most part by one cat biting another.. do not feel to blame for Killian having it, as it is almost a certainty that it did not come from the stray
the cat can live a long and healthy life with FELV!!


Answer by vetnurse
Submitted on 11/16/2006
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why wouldnt you ask your vet all these questions? that is what they are there for


Answer by Gabby
Submitted on 2/9/2007
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She/he was probably born with it,she could have gotten it from either parents or grandmother.It may be possible Killian may have had contact with Meowser,but as you said you didn't let them see each other thats not likely.I would say Killian was born with it,or Killian could have gotten it form another cat in His/hers past.Im really sorry to hear Killian has Feline Leukaemia :(


Answer by milly
Submitted on 2/25/2007
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cancer is not contagious


Answer by smart facce 33 seven
Submitted on 2/26/2007
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hi this is dr anna and i have a PHD in cats if you cat licked you then you might turn into a cat also i'mso sorry also you cat is pretty much gonna die and there really is nothing you can do about it unless you feed if anti freeze


Answer by Chirp
Submitted on 3/24/2007
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Feline lukemia is not contagious. The fact that you have owned 2 cats with it could either be a coincedence or an environmental problem. Since lukemia is a cancer of the blood, the only way it can be transmited is through blood.

I hope your cat is okay!!


Answer by jacky
Submitted on 4/25/2007
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I'm a dog expert, but I've had two cats and I know that cats are easily contaminated when it comes to leukemia and other diseases.  I believe that the ear mites that Meowser had may have gotten out and were bouncing around int he basement, if the tumor of leukemia was anywhere near Meowser'shead or neck, then the ear mites could vary well have been exposed to the disease.  If Killian had gotten hold of the ear mites and it gave her the disease, I wouldn't be surprised, but if not, then my guess is as good as yours.   I think you should ask your vet about the tumor and ear mites then that may clear up your suspicion, but the other guess is just as likely.  Killian may have had the disease by heredity, and it was just by coincidence that your Meowser had the same disease... But my only hope for you is that both cats make it through, even though, I'm sorry to say, the chances are extremely low.  

I'll keep you and your lovely cats in my prayers...
                             jack s.


Answer by Poonascoon
Submitted on 7/16/2007
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How daft are you??? Leukemia is cancer of the blood... you cant 'catch' cancer.


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