This is a virus which has stolen the limelight
in recent years. Cats have had it as part of their environment for
hundreds of years or so, and seem less affected by it than we are
on their behalf.
IT HAS ABSOLUTELY
NO EFFECT ON HUMANS, EVEN ILL AND IMMUNOSUPPRESSED ONES –
it is just something else cats keep to themselves. Sadly, we can
neither help nor hinder the progress of the virus in the cat, but
it does seem that most cats can contain the virus for some years
before it makes them very ill. About 10% of Sydney cats are infected,
and the frequency of their fights with other cats is a fair indicator
of their likelihood of getting the virus. It is only transmitted
by bites (but one tooth covered with virus-infected saliva is enough
to infect a new cat, and as in human AIDS, once is forever). As
most Cat fights happen at night this is another good reason for
keeping your cat indoors after dark.
By Kim Kendall B.V.Sc., M.A.C.V.Sc.
(feline medicine & animal behaviour)