|Posted on August 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM|
Allergen testing (fel d 1 level testing) for kittens is now available. This is information about how it works and some of the challenges for the potential Kitten Family and for ForestWind if allergen testing is pursued. Some of the limitations of testing are cost and the increased age of the kitten at placement.
Allergy testing for kittens is $600 per kitten. This fee includes the Vet visit with the charges to collect the samples; overnighting the samples to the testing lab; and the lab's charge for the testing. We do not charge for our time, parking or anything similar. This is *not* a fee deducted from the cost of kitten purchase, but is in addition to it.
Kittens must be at least ten weeks old to be reliably tested. The older the kitten is, the more reliable the results are. Results can take up to three weeks.
We have considered testing all of our kittens, but do not because of the timing and expense. More typically a cat allergic or asthmatic person will visit to challenge in person first with the breed itself (adult cat) and then if that is successful, with a kitten if it is old enough to be producing allergens.
We are making this service available to our families, but are also sharing our concerns about engaging in it:
One, in order to test reliably we need to keep kittens an extra one to two months. Two, if the tested kitten is not considered low allergen enough by the family, then we have a much older kitten who does not have a home. Three, this kitten will most likely be placed for a significant reduction in price even though our expenses and our time/ space costs have risen.
We carefully plan our litters so as not to overwhelm our home or our family. Each kitten needs lots of socialization time. As well, cats do not like to be crowded. Crowded cats are unhappy cats, and unhappy cats are not healthy cats*...
So the compromise we have arrived at is the following: we do not "hold" kittens pending allergy challenges or allergy testing. In other words, the prospective kitten parent pays for the adoption, and if the test results are low, they adopt the kitten. However, if the test results were not satisfactory to the prospective family, and they decide to wait for a later kitten, we do not refund the adoption money.
If due to age or higher allergen factor the kitten is placed for less than our normal adoption cost, that is deducted from the moneys paid toward the adoption of a kitten for the family who is involved in the testing.
This still leaves us without a resolution for the space and time issues, but we are absorbing those in an effort to support people who would like to pursue the lab based allergen testing before adopting.
As you can see, as well as the good news of being able to test for fel d1 levels in a kitten, there are also some challenges involved for everyone. We will work this out on a one by one basis with prospective families who strongly feel they would like to pursue this testing.
We do have a process for in-person allergy challenges. There is a 100 USD fee for in person visits conducted at ForestWind Siberian's home. This is deducted in full from your final kitten purchase payment if you buy a ForestWind kitten. Allergy challenges conducted in ForestWind Siberian kitten pet homes are paid to the pet owner and are not deducted from the purchase price. One can also request a fur sample for 25 USD, 20 of which is deducted from a kitten purchase with ForestWind Siberians, 5 USD goes toward the cost of priority mailing).
We are happy to answer any questions you have about the various allergy challenge and testing options.
* We love the babies, but our Siberians live in our home, and which cats are in which areas of our house is carefully timed and structured to provide the healthiest and happiest outcome for all our Siberians - and our people. A kitten from Litter A should not be hanging out with Litter B kittens, especially after kitten A was vaccinated and desexed. That kitten now has been exposed to airborne illnesses at the Vet as well as will shed the vaccines (in other words, a non vaccinated kitten can actually get sick from exposure to a vaccinated kitten).