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FeLV Testing Is Not Recommended for Community Cats

Alley Cat Allies does not support testing community cats for FeLV. In addition to low rates of disease, low likelihood of transmission between adult cats, and poor viability of the virus, the cost of testing is substantial. We believe that funds are more effectively used when invested in providing spay and neuter services.

Moreover, FeLV tests can provide inconclusive results:

  • A cat in the initial stage of FeLV infection may test negative.
  • A cat exposed to FeLV may test positive during the transient phase of the infection and then test negative if the virus is overcome.
  • Tests are not 100 percent accurate and can yield false positive results.


Community cats with FeLV should remain in their outdoor homes since they can’t live indoors and aren’t socialized to people. Although there is no known cure, supportive care can improve the quality of life, health, and longevity for owned and community cats with FeLV. Community cat caregivers and owners alike can help cats with FeLV by providing care including:

  • Shelter or a quiet place to rest
  • Good nutrition
  • Promptly taking cats to the veterinarian when they appear ill