Edgar and Ivy's Cat Sanctuary, Inc.: Bar Dog Operation Grant Report
How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?
This grant funded SNAP tests for many of our cats whom we ended up adopting out through our organization. Knowing if a cat has either FIV or FeLV is vital in knowing how to properly care for your feline; cats with FIV can lead normal and fulfilled lives with proper monitoring and treatment of chronic illnesses brought on by being immune compromised, and cats with FeLV must be housed completely separate from other cats who are not FeLV-positive in order to avoid the transmission of this disease.
How many pets did this grant help?
25 pets; we were awarded $500, allowing us to purchase 25 tests at $20 each.
Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.
There are two pets who were affected by this grant whom I would like to share about.
First was a cat named Oliver (first photo); he was the only cat out of the 25 who received SNAP tests funded by this grant whose test came back with a positive result. Oliver tested FIV positive.
Oliver was brought to us by a member of the public who had started taking care of him after he showed up outside her house one day. She quickly realized how affectionate and sweet he was, and Oliver even attempted to follow her inside! She brought him to Edgar and Ivy’s because it was obvious that this boy needed a forever home.
Luckily enough, the family who’d brought him to us ultimately ended up deciding to adopt him! They visited him at least once a week while he was at the shelter, so we had a feeling they would eventually end up reunited.
His new owners were initially nervous about the diagnosis of FIV, but we made sure to educate them on the condition fully and let them know what to expect in the future. Oliver in now happily settled into his forever home, where he lives with two dogs and another cat.
Another pet who was inadvertently affected by these SNAP tests is actually my own cat, who was adopted from a different organization. When we adopted her, the shelter had determined her to be FeLv-positive, meaning that she could only ever live with other FeLV-positive cats and would likely have a drastically shortened lifespan.
After bringing her home, we decided to ask for her medical history and we found out that the SNAP test which showed a positive result for FeLV was done when she was only 4 months old (she is now a year and a half old). False positives on cats under 6 months old are common and MUST be followed up on to confirm the accuracy of the diagnosis.
We took our cat to the vet for another SNAP test, and we were initially overjoyed when the test was negative after waiting for 10 minutes. It wasn’t until 30 minutes later, right as we were about to leave, that the vet tech stopped us and showed us that the test had developed a very faint “positive” line. We left feeling dejected and confused; did she have FeLV or not?
I shared this experience with Anissa Beal, Edgar and Ivy’s director, and she recalled the last time she was at a vet’s office to get one of the shelters cats SNAP-tested, and the vet tech told her, “You have to read the results after exactly 10 minutes. After the test sits around for a while, the serum inside leaks and it makes it look like it’s positive when it really isn’t.”
After hearing this, we got PCR and Elisa tests done for our cat, and these both confirmed that she is NOT FeLV-positive. I now know the proper way to interpret SNAP test results and will always share this with cat owners in the future.