This page: A published study showed more cats were put down at Cats Protection adoption centres for having FIV than for any other reason - How wrong can things get?

What we are up against

Cats Protection put down more FIV cats than any other cats in their adoption centres

That is what we learn from one study.

The study looked at results from 21 adoption centres run by Cats Protection, and they found that in a six month period (Jan to June 2005) 105 FIV cats were put to sleep.

The paper is titled: "A study of risk factors for cat mortality in adoption centres of a UK cat charity".

Over the six month period of the study, a total of 302 cats were put down, so the 105 of those who were FIV cats accounted for more than a third of the total put down (34.7%) - over three times that of the next highest reason for putting down (gastrointestinal problems, with a total of 32).

A second study, at 10 of the same centres the previous year, found that, of the cats entering the centres who were tested for FIV, the prevalence of FIV averaged 3.1%.

So it is even more concerning that the highest cause of putting down of all the cats, all came from just 3.1% of the total admitted.

The study's title suggests that FIV carries the greatest risk of mortality; yet there was not one FIV cat who died naturally; all were put down, seemingly for 'policy' reasons. This obviously suggests that is was not the FIV that was the cause of mortality, but the CP policy towards FIV cats.


Think of the numbers; 105 FIV cats were put to sleep in six months at 21 adoption centres run by CP themselves. The study did not look at the 250 local branches that are run by volunteers. It would seem that the adoption centres account for around 30% of all cats taken in by CP, so if the policy is common throughout CP, it would suggest around 700 FIV cats put to sleep by CP as a whole in a full year!

The paper suggests that, at the time, there was no clear policy for dealing with FIV cats, but they suggested what the unofficial policy appeared to be. Now (2015) there does seem to be a more formal policy which seems to match the unofficial one at the time of the paper. So it would appear that without any policy change, the risk to FIV cats being put down by CP in their adoption centres, remains just as high ten years on as it was at the time of the study.

The prevalence study identified 219 FIV positive cats during the whole of 2004.
The 'mortality' study showed 105 FIV cats put down in the first six months.
Even if there was some seasonal variation, this paints a very bleak picture of the chances for surviving the CP policy for any FIV cat entering their adoption centres at the time of the studies; and as the policy seems much the same today, one must fear for any FIV cat entering a CP centre now.

CP Policy re FIV cats

The next worry is regarding the policy itself.

It seems CP policy is to put down an FIV cat if they class it as "ill", "feral" or "unsuitable for an indoor home".

Many ill FIV cats will get better with proper treatment.
Many "feral" FIV cats are not feral at all, just frightened; with care they can learn trust and become just like other friendly cats (see Flynn as one example) but FIV frightened cats don't seem to get that chance if they are taken to Cats Protection!

The "unsuitable for an indoor home" restriction is an arbitrary decision based, seemingly, on a snap opinion of an individual at the adoption centre, based on how the cat appears on rescue, in a strange environment, with no time to adjust or learn to trust - hardly surprising they seem to be very scared, but that does not mean they would not adapt to an indoor home if given the chance.

(The whole policy of 'single indoor only cats' is part of a larger problem for FIV cats, which we look at elsewhere).

It would seem from their FIV policy that Cats 'PROTECTION' are not prepared to 'protect' many of the FIV cats who come their way - so 'selective protection' would seem to be the case where FIV is concerned.

The whole study raises many questions and, without more detailed results being available, it is not possible to assess just what was going on. But, it suggests a very worrying picture for FIV cats that are taken to CP adoption centres.

CP FIV policy is indicated in Blackie's story, here:

CP - flow charts for management of FIV cats

CP - Veterinary notes re FIV and FeLV

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