Feline Leukemia is an immunodeficiency disease that is caused by a retrovirus and only affects cats. The disease is becoming more uncommon with time thanks to medical advancement and the development of vaccines. Presently, less than 1% of healthy cats contract Feline Leukemia Virus and if diagnosed at an early stage, the spread of infection from one cat to another can be effectively contained.
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As explained by the Cornell Feline Health Center, the Feline Leukemia virus is a transmittable virus that can be transferred from an infected cat to a healthy cat via salvia, nasal secretions, urine, feces, cat bites, and through sharing of meals. Often, healthy looking cats that are asymptomatic can be carriers of this virus and infect kittens and adult cats with weak immune systems.
As this is an immunodeficiency virus that attacks the cat’s immune system, cats with feline leukemia virus become more susceptible to infectious diseases like bacterial infections and digestive disorders. Therefore, it is recommended that you should take your kittens and cats to veterinary clinics on a regular basis and get them vaccinated.
The Risk Factors for Feline Leukemia
Even though all healthy cats are at a risk of contracting feline leukemia virus, some cats are at a higher risk than others. Kittens and young cats have a more sensitive immune system as compared to adult cats. The older the cats get, the more resistant they become to feline leukemia virus. However, even older cats with weak immune systems are at a higher risk as compared to healthy adult cats.
Cats that wander outdoors are also at a greater risk of getting infected. This is because, they have more chances of coming into contact with infected stray cats, and either through cat bites during fights, or secretion of bodily fluids, the virus can transfer from the infected stray cat to your wandering pet cat.
Vets advise that when you adopt kittens or cats from an animal shelter or cattery, first take them for vaccination because when housed together with other cats, there is a high chance that your new member of the family was exposed to the virus and got infected. A timely visit to the vet will not only help in early diagnosis but can also prevent future ailments through vaccination.
Symptoms of Feline Leukemia
Some of the most common symptoms of feline leukemia include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness and lethargy
- Difficulty in breathing
- Hair loss or disheveled coat/ fur
- Oral diseases (infections, ulcers, pale gums)
- Yellow color in the mouth and whites of eyes
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Bladder, skin, or upper respiratory infections
- Reproductive problems like sterility
Dietary Needs of Cats with Feline Leukemia
Since, cats with feline leukemia are prone to digestive disorders but still need all the nutrients of a balanced diet, it is important to ensure that their food is light on stomach and is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.
Some of the must-haves in best food for cats with feline leukemia are:
- Antioxidants like Beta-carotene
- Water/ moisture
- Animal based protein
- Good fats
- Digestive enzymes
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
- Natural or herbal supplements
The 5 Best Foods for Cats with Feline Leukemia
Feline Leukemia Virus is a lethal disease for cats. It gives them less than 3 years to live if the condition remains untreated and cats are not given the proper nourishment they need for their antibodies to fight the virus.
It can leave the cats severely anemic, weak and malnourished. Therefore, it is advisable that for cats suffering from feline leukemia, a diet that is rich in protein, minerals and vitamins is prepared to boost their immune system.
Although, raw meat is an effective food choice for cats with feline leukemia, we suggest that you consult your vet first because raw meat may contain pathogens that are harmful for your cat’s already weakened immune system. Another good practice is to feed your cat cooked meat. But if that is not affordable then…
Below, we have compiled for you a short list of best food for cats with feline leukemia that you can purchase from stores or order online.
1. IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food
“From hairball control and healthy digestion to weight control and urinary tract health, IAMS Proactive Health provides balanced nutrition as unique as they are to meet your cat’s specialized needs.”
This high-quality poultry-based cat kibble comes in delicious chicken and salmon flavors to stimulate your cat’s appetite. Its balanced formula containing all the essential nutrients, promotes your cat’s healthy growth. Mixed with fiber and probiotics, the unique blend is perfect for your cat’s sensitive digestive system.
It strengthens your cat’s bones and muscles with its calcium and potassium rich formula, and with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, your cat’s heart remains healthy.
Made in USA with world’s finest ingredients, IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food is the best food for cats with feline leukemia.
2. Crave Grain-Free, High-Protein Dry Cat Food
Made with real chicken, Crave Grain-free, High Protein Dry Cat Food contains 40% protein that promotes your cat’s healthy growth and wellbeing.
This balanced formula is rich in all the essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals and enzymes) that are needed for developing muscles, aiding digestion, providing energy and supporting your cat’s healthy immune system.
Every kibble provides your cat with the crunchy delicious texture it needs to keep chewing.
3. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management, High-Protein Adult Cat Food
Purina Pro Plan Weight Management formula is made with omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A to nourish your cat’s skin and coat.
This premium quality blend supports your cat’s healthy vision and its probiotic rich formula keeps in check your cat’s digestive and immune health.
Available in chicken and turkey flavor, Purnia Pro Plan contains all the vital ingredients like vitamins, minerals, omega 3-6 fatty acids and nutrients that your cat needs in a healthy balanced diet.
And finally, a perfect supplement to go along with your cat’s everyday meals that will act as an immunity booster for your feline suffering from leukemia virus.
4. NHV Felimm: All-Natural Herbal Supplement for Cats
NHV Felimm: All-Natural Herbal Supplement for Cats is formulated to ease symptoms of immune conditions in cats.
This natural blend of herbs is made and approved by vets. It encourages detoxification of the lymphatic system and promotes your cat’s healthy appetite. When given with normal cat food, it leaves your cat, happy, healthy and energetic.
To help your cat stay strong and maintain its respiratory health, make NHV Felimm an essential part of its diet.
Our Final Thoughts
Cat’s suffering from feline leukemia need a diet that is prepared specially to help them overcome the symptoms associated with their disease. We hope that you will find our blog post on best food for cats with feline leukemia to be an informative read and alter your cat’s diet accordingly.