With all cats, it’s important to feed a healthy diet, but it’s especially important to feed a healthy diet for your FIV+ cats to help them maintain their health for as long as possible. Nutrition can go a long way in any animal’s health, and cats are no exception. Cats, as obligate carnivores, need only two things: meat and moisture. Anything else the cat will either store as fat or have to get rid of.

Dry food: The process of making a kibble requires there to be high amounts of carbohydrates to work, and carbohydrates, being neither meat nor moisture, are not good for cats. Kibbles also tend to be cooked at high temperatures for days, cooking out all of the nutritional value, requiring the manufacturer to spray on synthetic vitamins and a palatability enhancer. All in all, dry food is not a great choice for a cat, and could be detrimental to an FIV+ cat.

Canned food: Probably the easiest, healthiest way to feed your cat, and for FIV+ cats, it probably is the best option. We highly recommend looking for brands that are “human quality,” rather than “pet quality,” because of the higher standards. By being canned, the food is still cooked, but not for anywhere near as long as dry food, with the added benefit of being left wet despite the cooking process. With the shorter cooking time and the lack of dehydration, the food is left more bioavailable for the cat, meaning that the nutrients in the food are more easily digested and used.

Cooked meat: When you cook meat for yourself, you can indeed feed some to your cat, but it is not a sustainable method of feeding because cats need the whole prey (the fat and muscle at least, best with a little bone), and when meat is cooked, it renders the taurine in the meat inactive. It gets “cooked off,” so to speak. This option is just as fine for an FIV+ cat as it is for any other cat.

Raw cat food: There are brands of raw cat food already made. This option is unfortunately not as preferred for an FIV+ cat. Where raw is our preferred food for all cats of all ages and needs, the contaminants in the food that most kitties wouldn’t even be affected by might more easily prey on a cat with a suppressed immune system, such as an FIV+ cat. If your FIV+ cat is definitively healthy, they would probably benefit from raw food, but the risk of infection is higher for them.

Supplements: A healthy rotation of supplements including L-Lysine, good multivitamins, and a blend of pre- and probiotics are good for the general health of all cats, but it can be pivotal in the health of an immunocompromised animal, such as an FIV+ cat. A rotation meaning that they don’t have to have all of these supplements at once, but they should be getting one or another on a fairly regular basis.