Testing for FIV/FELV
I'm going through the bills sent in by people right now. Someone just sent in a bunch of bills andI realised that almost every cat had been sent for a SNAP test (to test for FIV and FELV). This obviously made the bills a lot higher than they would otherwise have been.
Here's the thing - what does testing really do? Assuming that you tested the cat, and it DOES turn out positive, what are your choices? Will you take it home? Put the cat down (which chances are, if this is routinely done, and not in response to specific symptoms, is a healthy cat)? Will you put it back in the colony? What if the test is a false positive? Are you going to re-test? What will you do in the meantime? What if the cat has had a FIV vaccine and is now obviously going to test positive?
Some people will not put the cat back in the colony - though of course you have no idea if the other cats are FIV positive or not, unless you test all of them. And here's the thing - tests are expensive. For the price of testing one cat, you could easily have sterilised another. If you really want to cut down infection rates for FIV, then sterilise more cats because it spreads mostly through biting, and that's through aggressive male cats, which generally indicates, these cats are likely to be unsterilised.
So here's the question to perhaps ask before you decide on that FIV test. Will knowing that the cat is FIV positive change the way you treat the cat in any way - ie are you going to treat the cat (and clearly if it is healthy, there isn't anything to treat right then)? Do you have a plan for after-care and what to do with your existing cats in the colony? If not, then consider whether your money might be better spent on sterilising the cats instead.