FIV+ & FeLV+ Cats

Cats with these manageable lifelong conditions have so much love to give. PAWS gives them a chance at the happy life they deserve.

In 2018, PAWS formally established a new lifesaving program to rescue and adopt out cats who have Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Prior to that time, FeLV+ and FIV+ cats faced almost certain euthanasia at the city’s animal control shelter, despite the fact that they could have many happy and healthy years ahead of them.

Homeless cats with these conditions have historically been considered “unsavable.” However, the lifesaving progress of the last decade has led progressive animal welfare groups across the country to reexamine what is possible. For FeLV+ and FIV+ cats at PAWS, that means taking a special approach to finding them forever families who understand their special needs and are willing to commit to their care, and providing support to make the journey easier.

While decisively different, FeLV and FIV are both diseases that attack a cat’s immune system and can result in life-threatening complications. However, with careful health monitoring, cats with FeLV and FIV can live normal lives—they just have a shorter life expectancy.

To help these special felines (like Earl, below) find special homes, PAWS’ program waives the adoption fee, provides one-on-one guidance to adopters, and, for FeLV+ cats, offers free end of life services, should the adopter need it.

Our commitment to saving, advocating for, and adopting out FeLV+ and FIV+ cats is an essential part of our larger pursuit to make Philadelphia a place where all healthy and treatable animals can live their best lives.


“I am so grateful that PAWS gave this FeLV+ boy a chance at happiness. This affectionate, spunky, food-obsessed buddy is off to his forever home, where he’ll never have a shortage of laps, cuddles, or treats!”
– Amy B., PAWS foster parent


Earl was found as a stray, dehydrated, underweight, and suffering from painful dental issues. We also discovered that he is FeLV+. Thanks to PAWS, that wasn’t the end of his story. He enjoyed every moment in his foster home as we worked to get him well, and was adopted to a loving family who is prepared to give him the care and attention he will need.

Your gift = their ticket home

Your support will provide veterinary care, safe housing, and more to FeLV+ and FIV+ cats rescued by PAWS. It will also ensure we can support adopters of FeLV+ cats by providing the ongoing medical care they will need, making it easier to welcome them into their families.

Jill’s Second Chances Fund is named for longtime PAWS vet tech Jill Sweeney, who advocated to create this lifesaving program years ago, and was instrumental in leading PAWS to become a safe haven for these cats who have so much love to give.

Donate to Jill's Second Chances Fund

FeLV info

Find details about adopting and caring for a cat with FeLV.

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FIV Info

Interested in adopting a cat with FIV? Start here.

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Cat Rescue and Care

PAWS rescues homeless cats who are most in danger: those with treatable medical or behavioral issues, mothers with kittens, and orphans who are too young for adoption. We help them get well, then place them in loving homes.

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Complex Medical Cases

More and more, the shelter animals most in need of rescue have illnesses or injuries requiring specialized veterinary care. They find it at PAWS: we help them heal so they can go on to enjoy the carefree lives they deserve.

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Ringworm Recovery

This common fungal infection requires methodical care, but it doesn’t have to stand in the way of a new life. PAWS has dedicated shelter space for pets with ringworm, and assists fosters and adopters who bring them home.

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