I have a cat that has the FeLV virus and two other cats that are FeLV negative. The FeLV cat was a stray that showed up in our barn and decided he wanted to be an indoor/outdoor kitty. I had no idea he had the virus until he developed anisocoria (uneven eye pupils) and it was diagnosed as spastic pupil syndrome caused by the feline leukemia virus. The vet thought the virus was probably acquired while he was a stray. Anyway, long story short, he has been with us 5 years now, apparently perfectly healthy except for his weird eyes. My other 2 cats are vaccinated and have never shown any signs of illness, and they all share the same food bowls for their kibble. I keep this cat in at night to decrease the chances that he’ll infect any unvaccinated cat that he might encounter. Other than that, he leads a normal and happy cat life. We live out in the country with plenty of acreage, so he can prowl a bit. If we lived in town that wouldn’t be possible.
When my cat was diagnosed with FeLV, the vet offered euthanasia as an option. I declined, and I’ve never regretted that decision. When I declined, the vet said she wouldn’t have euthanized the cat either if it was hers. I decided to just take things one day at a time, and when the virus becomes active we’ll deal with it then. I fully expect that this cat will have a short life, but so far he’s had a happy 5 years with us.
My biggest worry was that my other two cats would be infected, but they had already been exposed for about a year before we knew the stray was infected (he had tested negative before vaccination). I won’t take in any kittens while I still have this cat, because they would be at greater risk of becoming infected.
@millerra, you asked if being small is a sign of the disease or just a rough start–it could be either one. You’ll know when you get the test results. Or it could be that she’s just a small cat. If she does test positive for FeLV, your vet can help you decide what to do. Fingers crossed for a negative test, and I’ll be watching for an update.