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Ask Terri Your Own Question
Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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Leukemia to infect a cat - does it need to be direct saliva

Customer Question

For Feline leukemia to infect a cat - does it need to be direct saliva contact? For example, let's say a cat with feline leukemia had been eating kibble and then 15 minutes later another cat came and ate from the same dish. What is the likelihood of infection?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.


It is remotely possible but usually direct contact (like a bite) is necessary. However, if you have a FeLV+ cat, it is best not to allow any exchange of bodily fluids.

Please let me know if you wish to discuss this further.



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I thought direct contact was needed for FIV - but not for feline leukemia
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.

Direct contact is usually necessary for either disease because the virus does not live very long outside the body.

However, exposure to any body fluids via bowls or litter box can spread the infection

Can you tell me exactly what happened?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I dont know if I am being clear in this sutation - sorry. When a cat eats kibble from a bowl it may get some of it's saliva on the remaining kibble it has not eaten. But it will eventually dry within short time too. Could that kibble transmit the disease?
Expert:  Terri replied 1 year ago.

Thanks so much for your reply.

To answer your question, if the saliva is totally dry, it is very unlikely the kibble could transmit the disease.