The Catwork (FIV) website

What is this all about?

The purpose of this site is to give a true and up to date picture of cats with the FIV virus (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and what it really means for them and their owners.

Because different people will be looking for different levels of information, we have divided up this website into sections, indicated via the menu tabs you see on the left -  (click on the tabs to see the individual pages in that section) - they are grouped as described below (scroll down).

We present the information in non-technical language, and base it on what we have learnt over the years since 1997 when we were first introduced to FIV through Harry (you can read Harry's story elsewhere).

Since then, we have personally cared for around 100 individual cats with FIV, most of them living with us for many years. This is now backed up by information from hundreds of owners of FIV cats across the world (1000 FIV cats project), so there is an accumulation of thousands of 'cat years' of experience.

We know that many need help and advice about the virus, but we also know that much of the information available elsewhere is based on theory and scientific studies which, as we will show you, are not always a good indicator of 'real-life FIV'!

The content of this website is described below:

The first section is aimed at anyone new to the subject who needs a broad outline of what the virus really means to a cat.

FIV - What you need to know first
- We give the basic facts about the virus;
- We offer reassurance to those who have been frightened by what they have been told;
- We cover the basic myths that abound about FIV;
- We explain, in every day language, what the virus actually does, which we believe is important to understand in order to help get the whole subject in perspective;
- We suggest what you might consider when looking after an FIV cat;
- and we look at the common questions raised by rescue policy restrictions, such as mixing FIV cats with uninfected cats, and letting FIV cats outdoors.

Next we look a little deeper at specific points:

More detailed FIV information
We cover points such as - FIV-symptoms; - FIV-related illnesses; - Testing for FIV; - Transmission of FIV; - Kittens who test positive for FIV - - and we give details of our booklet about the cats in the sanctuary and what they have taught us over the years - (which covers much of what is in this website)

Next we look at some of the issues surrounding the FIV virus

Issues around FIV
- We look at why the virus is generally still misunderstood;
- We give an overview of the things that affect cats immune systems - other than FIV;
- We show why most vets don't really have much experience of FIV cats, which can lead them to give unrealistic advice;
- We talk more about why much of the research around FIV is not as relevant as it should be, and can be misleading.

Risks to FIV cats (when rescued!)
Many FIV cats can still be at risk after being 'rescued', so next we give a few examples of where things have gone wrong for FIV cats when left in the hands of those who don't really understand the true implications of the virus.

1000 FIV cats project
Next we show you the project we have set up to document what owning an FIV cat is really like, by collecting information from individuals across the world who own, or have owned, one or more FIV cats - Reading their stories will give a true impression of what FIV cat-ownership is really like. there are many hundreds listed and the statistics are starting to give an interesting picture.

and finally,

The Sanctuary
We give information about our sanctuary, through which we have had the chance to experience many cats with the FIV virus over the years since 1997.

Please use the menu on the left to access any of the pages.

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