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Feline Leukemia

Updated on July 13, 2011
You need to learn everything you can about feline leukemia and how to protect your feline friend from it. You want your feline friend to be safe and protected.
You need to learn everything you can about feline leukemia and how to protect your feline friend from it. You want your feline friend to be safe and protected.

Feline Leukemia Virus is a retrovirus that lowers your cats immune system and can leave your cat prey to a multitude of secondary illnesses. If your cat has a weakened immune system it can be susceptible to blood disorders , infections and even cancer. Feline Leukemia is the chief cause of cancer in cats.

2 to 13 percent of all cats in America have feline leukemia and it is more common in high risk cats like cats that live outdoors , young kittens and cats living with already infected cats.

It is important that you know that there are two stages of feline leukemia. They are primary viremia and secondary virema. But once it reaches the secondary stage there is nothing that can be done for the cat. Secondary illnesses will eventually take the cat with secondary virema but life expectancy after diagnosis will depend on various factors. Some cats have been known to live a few years while others make it only a few weeks.

And you should know that feline leukemia is not leukemia at all but is a retrovirus instead. Yes the disease is a virus and not a cancer.

How to Care for a Kitten : Understanding Feline Leukemia

Please note that cats with feline leukemia can spread the disease to other cats and quite often do. The virus can be spread through saliva , the litter box , biting another cat , using or eating from the food dish of an infected cat and from kittens nursing from their mothers infected with feline leukemia.It is known that the virus can live up to 24 hours in a damp moist environment like a litter box.

What feline leukemia does is cause immunosuppression in healthy cats and then the cat comes down with secondary illnesses. Feline leukemia can have a wide range of effects on cats. Some cats can fight off the infection while others can get the virus and be completely healthy carriers giving the virus to other cats.

Vaccines are now available for feline leukemia and you need to discuss this with your veterinarian. Prevention is always the best medicine.

Some of the signs of feline leukemia are.

1. Aborted litters of kittens in pregnant females.

2. Eye Problems.

3. Neurological disorders, seizures , or behavior changes.

4. Diarrhea that does not get better or go away.

5. Hair falling out or other skin infections.

6. Fever.

7. A poor coat with missing spots of hair.

8. Weight loss all at once.

9. Loss of appetite or the cat suddenly stops eating a treat it has always loved.

If your cat has one or more of those symptoms you should make an appointment with your veterinarian and voice your concerns.

You can prolong a cats life that is diagnosed with feline leukemia. But the cat should be confined or quarantined so it can not spread the virus to other cats. If it has not been spayed or neutered it needs to be done now. You don't want a female cat with feline leukemia to become pregnant and have kittens because the odds are that the kittens will be born infected with feline leukemia. The cat will need a nutritious diet and it will need to see the vet on a regular basis. Before you adopt or purchase a cat or kitten they should be tested by your vet for feline leukemia.

Vaccination is recommended for cats that.

1. Go outside on a regular basis. They can easily get exposed to cats with feline leukemia this way.

2. Cats that live in a household where it is known that a cat with feline leukemia already lives.

3. Cats that run any risk of coming in contact with a cat or cats that you do not know the feline leukemia status for.

I hope that the information on this hub page about feline leukemia helps you if you are looking for information on feline leukemia. I strongly suggest you make a appointment with your veterinarian if you think there is any chance your cat may have feline leukemia. You can also discuss if your cat needs a vaccination against feline leukemia.

The content on this page was produced on December 31 2009 for this page by Thomas Byers and is not to be reproduced or copied in any way. If you like this page please link to it.

If you have questions , comments , tips , or suggestions about feline leukemia please post them now.

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @Sheryl, thank you for this information, I have the same problem with my cat. What i would like to know if it was successful. Im desperate to know as i would like to cure my cat. would you please respond and any advice would be appreciated

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My cat was diagnosed with feline leukemia that I was told went to the bone marrow. The veternarian gave her no chance to live and told me to put her down. I started her on high doses of Vit C (Calcium Ascorbate) Powder, Colloidal Silver and 4Life Transfer Factors(2 capsules/day). Then I added some herbs from Pure Herbs: Red Clover/Greasewood(Chapparal) Blend, Sanicle and Sutherlandia. Sutherlandia is an Herb that actually deals with retroviruses and all viruses in the body. Plus I give her Olive leaf in her food. She is getting better and growing stronger daily. Pure Herbs can be obtained from

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My 5 month old cat has feline leukemia...we took him to the vet and all they did was give hima shot and say that he was dehidrated.evan though he has all of the simptoms of leukemia....what should i do

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My 3 yaer old cat has feline leukemia. I had her on orbax but lost my jobb and can't afford it now. She has recently started urinating in other places besides her box. Sometimes it's the box and sometimes it's the floor or last night the floor and the tub. I don't want to put her down she's still eating and drinking well and seems to feel ok. I just don't know why she's not using her litter box. I change it sometimes daily and also in 2 days. She doesn't seem to hurt or urt when urinating. I just don't know what to do. Have you any ideas that could help with the not using the litter box problem? Or any thing I need to improve her life. Thank you, C. Allison

    • macsmith85 profile image


      8 years ago

      I never heared about Feline Leukemia virus, thank you for giving me knowledge about this virus!!!! Keep going!!!


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