A novel diagnostic test for feline leukemia virus (FeLV) RNA in saliva from naturally infected cats is described in this study. We evaluated different diagnostic tests and compared them with the widely used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of p27 in the diagnosis of FeLV. Blood samples from 445 cats were tested for the presence of provirus by real-time PCR and plasma and saliva specimens from those cats were tested for the presence of viral RNA by real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR and for the presence of p27 by ELISA. In comparison to conventional ELISA, the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the detection of salivary FeLV RNA by real-time RT-PCR were found to be 98.1 and 99.2%, respectively. Detection of viral RNA in saliva had a positive predictive value of 94.6% and a negative predictive value of 99.7%. The kappa value was 0.96, demonstrating an almost perfect agreement between both tests. Furthermore, we confirmed previous results showing that a number of cats which tested negative for the presence of p27 in plasma were in fact positive for the presence of DNA provirus in blood specimens (5.4%). However, 96.4% of these latently infected cats did not shed viral RNA in saliva; therefore, we assume that these cats are of relatively low clinical importance at the time of testing. This study shows considerable diagnostic value of the detection of saliva FeLV RNA in naturally infected cats. This new diagnostic method has advantages over the conventional ELISA, such as less invasive sample collection and no requirement for trained personnel.