Feline Leukemia


Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a moderately contagious disease which is present in the saliva of infected cats, and transmission occurs by cat-to-cat contact, and congenitally, meaning they can be born with it.

There is no evidence that this disease is transmissible to humans. For more information regarding this disease or any other, please contact your veterinarian.


Frequently, the infected cat undergoes a chronic wasting disease marked by anemia, lethargy, and anorexia. The virus causes cancers, lymphosarcomas or malignant tumors, of the lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen, abdominal cavity and lymph nodes in the chest cavity. It also causes severe depression of the immune system, making the cat much more susceptible to other diseases.


There is no cure for this disease, only prevention in the form of a vaccine administered by your veterinarian. Although we at the Humane Society don't vaccinate the cats in our care for FeLV, we do test all cats and kittens before letting them go to a home. The test is unreliable for kittens under three months of age, and therefore we recommend that you take your kitten to the vet for re-testing and vaccination when it is older.