Comments on the dilemma in the November/December issue: 'Are you positive? The fate of a shelter cat'

Siobhan Mullan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial (Academic Journal)


The dilemma in the November/December issue concerned a shelter cat that was suspected of being FIV-positive. Despite an initial negative test result, a subsequent test came out positive and the cat was euthanased as a result. However, it eventually seemed likely that the cat had received a single FIV vaccination while at the shelter, resulting in the positive test result (In Practice, November/December 2012, volume 34, pages 614-615). Based on this situation, Anne Fawcett and Juliana Brailey discussed factors to consider when deciding to euthanase a FIV-positive cat. The first was whether euthanasia of a FIV-positive cat (which could live as long as an uninfected cat) was ever ethically justifiable. The other factor was the place of tests that might give false positive results in making such decisions. They suggested that all cats should be tested for FIV at shelters before vaccination and that vaccination should be restricted to at-risk cats. In addition, vaccinated cats should be identified with a tag or microchip to ensure that vaccination status was not confused with natural infection. More generally, they noted that decisions about euthanasia must be based on solid diagnoses, suggesting that shelters could consider using low-cost confirmatory testing if necessary. They also suggested that shelters could look into rehoming FIV-positive cats to fully informed owners who commit to keeping their pets indoors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-47
Number of pages1
JournalIn Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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