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  • Sallie Rhodes

Kitty Post: Feline Leukemia

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Feline Leukemia: A Silent Threat to Our Feline Friends

Feline Leukemia, also known as FeLV, is a devastating viral disease that affects domestic cats and other felids. It is one of the leading causes of illness and death in cats, with no cure currently available. This article aims to shed light on this silent threat, providing essential information about the causes, transmission, symptoms, prevention, and management of feline leukemia.

Cause and Transmission:

Feline Leukemia is caused by the feline leukemia virus, which is primarily spread through close contact between infected and healthy cats. Transmission can occur through saliva, nasal secretions, urine, and feces. Kittens born to infected mothers can contract the virus during birth or through nursing. Outdoor cats are at a higher risk due to increased exposure to infected cats.


Feline Leukemia weakens the cat's immune system, making them vulnerable to secondary infections, anemia, and certain types of cancer. Common symptoms include weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and recurring infections. However, some infected cats may show no symptoms for months or even years.

Prevention and Management:

Preventing feline leukemia starts with responsible pet ownership. Vaccination is crucial in protecting cats from FeLV. Regular veterinary check-ups and testing are recommended, especially for those in multi-cat households. Infected cats should be kept indoors to minimize the risk of transmission and should not be allowed to share litter boxes with other cats.

Management of feline leukemia focuses on supportive care to maintain the cat's overall health and quality of life. This includes providing a balanced diet, minimizing stress, and promptly treating any infections or complications that arise. In some cases, antiviral medications may be prescribed to slow the progression of the disease.

The Importance of Awareness:

Raising awareness about feline leukemia is vital to protect our feline friends. Educating cat owners about the risks, prevention measures, and early detection can help reduce the spread of the virus and improve the overall health of the cat population.


Feline Leukemia remains a significant concern for cat owners, as it poses a serious threat to the well-being of our feline companions. By understanding the causes, transmission, symptoms, and prevention measures associated with FeLV, we can take proactive steps to protect our cats and minimize the impact of this silent and devastating disease. Remember, responsible ownership, vaccination, and regular veterinary care are key in safeguarding our beloved feline friends from feline leukemia.

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