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Just like humans, cats can also have immunodeficiency viruses

“It just makes the cats' immune systems weak, so they’re more susceptible to a cat common cold, different cat viruses," according to Darby McKenzie.

BRYAN, Texas — Even though cats are rumored to have nine lives, they are still vulnerable creatures and can get sick. Just like humans, cats can also have immunodeficiency viruses. 

“We see probably anywhere from 5-15 of these special cats every year. They have something called feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus,” said Aggieland Humane Society Communications Coordinator Darby McKenzie. 

Both are not harmful nor transferable to humans. 

“It just makes the cats’ immune systems weak, so they’re more susceptible to a cat common cold, different cat viruses, and things like that," said McKenzie.

Because of a weaker immune system, these cats require a different kind of home. 

“They need a family where they’re the only cat or they can live with other positive cats that have similar immunodeficiencies and so it makes them a little harder to place,” said McKenzie. 

These viruses spread randomly and this usually happens through cats fighting outdoors. 

When these special stray cats come to the shelter, Aggieland Humane Society makes sure they are vaccinated and separate them from other cats to reduce any risk of exposure. 

“A lot of times they live very normal lives and you’ll never know they have these viruses, but sometimes they do come into contact with sicknesses that weaken their immune system that makes it a little harder... just like if we get the flu, or the coronavirus and our immune system is already weak. It’s hard to come back from that and that’s the same for these cats,” said McKenzie. 

The shelter strongly encourages you to take your cats in for their annual checkups, especially if they ever go outside and that their vaccinations are up to date.

To learn more about adopting these special cats, click here.