Hi! I am a foster mom for a high kill shelter in Philly. I am fostering my 3rd litter which was my first litter of bottle feeders. I've spent the past 24 hours researching like crazy online and trying to talk to others with experience but really getting a lot of contradicting information.
The background: I pulled this litter from the shelter about 5 weeks ago as borderline bottle feeders. They were dumped on a doorstep in a box and brought to the shelter. Apparently there were 2 additional dropped off a day later that they assume was from the same litter but they were euthanized due to space/kitten season. When I brought them home they were all around .65lbs. Two of them were eating wet food and 1 refused it. I ended up having to bottle feed the 1 for 3 weeks before being able to wean him completely. All 3 have been active, healthy and playful. No signs of illness. Gaining weight steadily..actually faster than any of my previous litters. Today I dropped them off to be spayed and neutered. My biggest boy weighed 2.6lbs, girl 2.2lbs and than my smallest boy who was the bottle feeder the longest came in at just about 2lbs. I got a call this afternoon that the Feline Leukemia test came back positive. They only tested 1 at the time so I brought them right to the clinic when I picked them up and they tested a 2nd one who also tested positive. At this point they have been completely unhelpful in giving me any info or reassurance. The only good thing I got out of them was that they did tell me that they have a rescue that specifically pulls FIV/FELV+ cats and if my cats didnt "flip" they would be able to place them in the rescue. That rescue claims they have a 90-95% flip rate of FELV/FIV+ kittens they pull under the age of 12 weeks...but they are grouping FELV and FIV together and I honestly have no idea how many kittens they have pulled to create this statistic for themselves (it could be 2 litters or hundreds)...they claim I have a high chance of my kittens still flipping negative. I have/had adopters lined up for all 3 kittens. I have contacted them all. One is going to look for another kitten. Two have actually requested to wait..one is willing to wait "as long as it takes" to see if he will flip...even if it takes 6 months. For the past week I had given the kittens much more freedom in my house. I know for a fact they drank from my 2 resident cats water dishes. I also caught my 1 resident cat sneak into the kitten room and eating from their dish. So they have been exposed. My main questions really are about the possibility of them flipping. I cant seem to get any kind of consistent answer on this. I have tons of other foster parents that keep reassuring me that the chances of them flipping to negative and just that they tested positive bc they are too young to have an accurate test and than looking online or talking with some others make it sound like the chance is higher of a flip if it was FIV not FELV. So what are the chances of them flipping? Am I setting myself (and the potential adopters) up with false hope thinkng there could be a reasonable chance of them flipping to negative? Do I just keep testing every month for 6 months? They did the quick snap test. Should I continue to do that test or at what point should I request or bring to my own vet to have another type of test done? If they flip to negative- does that really mean they are in the clear and its safe for them to be adopted into a home with other cats? Someone is suggesting that I take my resident cats in and have them FELV vaccinated immediately even though they were already exposed...should I do this? I had called my vet and they told me to bring my cats in 2 months to be tested for FELV. So much mixed information has been given to me Im just so emotionally drained and confused on my next steps. I've grown to love these kittens very much but Im in no position to make them permanent resident cats here for long term. At the most I think I could consider hanging onto the boy Henry who has the adopter willing to wait for him for the 6 months to see if he flips negative if its worth waiting that long. I just dont know at what point to turn them over to the FELV rescue. I hate to "dump" them but I feel like if they truly are positive I cant provide them with what they need so the rescue specific for FELV is the best for them..but I dont want to put them there and have them placed in foster care with other FELV cats to have them just flip to negative but now be infected bc of exposure to other positive cats. I want to know they are truly positive before making that choice. Thanks again. I really appreciate any information or suggestions. Sadly the shelter is not offering me a lot of support or advice and at the clinic I felt the vet tech had no idea what she was talking about. -- Jamielynn Storch www.jlynnphotographyonline.com
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