About a month ago, I had to say goodbye to my sweet cat Reggie. His kidneys were failing, so I had him put to sleep so he wouldn’t suffer.

Yesterday I went to the Santa Barbara Humane Society to start looking for a companion cat for my other cat Oscar. I had adopted Oscar from the S.B. Humane Society during the six years that I was a cat volunteer there. I stopped volunteering when I broke my hip last year.

Even though Oscar had been screened for the Leukemia virus (I still have the paperwork) before I adopted him, I just thought it would be smart to confirm that their cats are still screened, since I wouldn’t want to risk exposing Oscar to leukemia, which is very contagious and deadly. I was shocked when they told me that they don’t screen anymore. I asked them if I decided to adopt a cat, could I pay a fee to have that cat screened. I was told that I could not, and I would have to have that done through a private vet.

I then went to ASAP and was assured by them that they do screen for leukemia, and they were extremely surprised that the S.B. Humane does not. Even though I did not find the right companion cat for Oscar yesterday, the volunteer was very nice and encouraged me to keep coming back, which I will.

Many, many years ago, I lost two young cats to leukemia, and it was absolutely heartbreaking! I think it is important for people to be aware that the S.B. Humane Society does not screen, so they are able to decide if they want to take that risk. The last thing we, and cats need, is for leukemia to become rampant again!

Karen Terpstra of the Santa Barbara Humane Society replied: Ms. Simpson received incorrect information regarding our testing policy, for which we are sorry. We test all our cats for feline leukemia and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). If we were to change our testing policy in the future, we would still test cats when requested by adopters.


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