Wednesday, August 17, 2005

To test for FIV or not

Now here is a question for all cat owners. When they get a new kitten, do you test for FIV or not? FELV, the leukemia virus is a given. About 30% of cats are positive for FELV. FIV is much more rare. Apparently kittens will typically show negative for the first four months of their life, even if they have been exposed. The test itself looks for antibodies to the virus so if their mother was exposed and positive the kittens could test positive in the window of four to six months but have this positve be a false positive.

Having a cat at four months old and considering adding another cat makes the decision difficult. I would like to test now, but my veterinarian has said that because the positive doesn't really mean anything at this point I shouldn't. Reading Cornell University's site, they suggest testing and retesting but for some reason my veterinarian's office is reluctant to do that.

Statsitically, about 1.3% of cats are positive for FIV (according to Cornell's website) and most of those cats are intact males who typically get and pass the virus by fighting.

I have been told by the technician to keep any cats in my household from fighting. I have an elder cat with the kitten and have observed that so long as the older cat doesn't move, Gemini doesn't attack. However, movement is fun! I suspect any cat that I acquire will want to move as well. It's just this funny thing--sometimes they do. So that leaves me to the great debate of whether to add another cat or not. Both the technician and my vet say they would add the cat to the household in these circumstances as the kitten does fit the profile of an FIV cat.

If this were a polical blog, I might have to get into my stance about profiling too.. but I'll leave that to other minds..

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