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FIP Warrior:

Abigail (Abby)

My Abigail came to me from a cat rescue that I found when I moved to Arizona for my new job. As part of new job, I’m a trustee for a foundation that donates money to nonprofit groups. When I moved here, I stayed with my boss for a few weeks while our house was being repaired. I would walk by the rescue every night on my way to dinner and there was always the same black kitten in the window, watching as I walked past. When I went in to deliver July’s check, I asked if I could see her. I picked her up and it was love at first sight. I adopted her that day. We would play for hours, fetching catnip filled mice and share goats milk cheese while watching a movie. She quickly became the companion I needed while I waited for my husband to move to Arizona with me. I had my other black cat, Salem, with me as well, the dynamic duo! We were able to move into our new home around mid-August and Abby went from having 150 sq ft of space to over 2600 sq feet. She also gained 4 new cat sisters and 2 new dog sisters. As we unpacked and settled in over the next few weeks it seemed as though Abby started to slow down. She wasn’t as excited about her mice nor playing. In the midst of getting settled into our new home, I had to take a business trip to Colorado and was gone for 3 days. When I returned home, I noticed Abby wanting to sit on the heating pad with me, which isn’t weird but she looked poofy like she was cold. I indulged her and provided a nice warm corner for her. Later that night, she just didn’t look right to me. She is usually very verbal and wants what ever food I’m eating. She was depressed and her stomach was distended, I knew she needed a vet, and fast! We put her in the carrier and made the 30 minute trip to the closest animal ED. The new was devastating...suspected FIP and the syringe with the telltale sign of yellow abdominal fluid they had drained from her. I cried and begged the ED doctor to give me another diagnosis, anything other than FIP because I knew it was a death sentence and she was well into the illness at this stage. Her fever was 106 and she wasn’t eating or drinking, she could barely walk. We left the ED with a diagnosis of suspected wet form FIP and it has a mortality rate of over 95%. The tears flowed hot down my cheeks all the way home. I held her and apologized over and over because I knew there was nothing I could do to help her. No meds, no treatment, no amount of money could fix this. I had a kitten when I was a teenager that had FIP, she passed away because of there being no treatment nor vaccine, so I knew what I was up against. This was a Tuesday night so on Wednesday morning, I contacted Abby’s veterinarian and told them the devastating diagnosis and they just couldn’t believe it. I took her in that afternoon and they gave her some fluids as she had stopped drinking water by this time. Same on Thursday and by Friday I just couldn’t watch her suffer anymore. Her fever was so bad I could feel her through 4 layers of bedding. On Friday's visit, it was decided that Abby would spend the weekend with me and my husband arranged to have her euthanized on Monday afternoon. My heart was broken. Neither Abby nor I could eat, we just laid in bed together and waited for that horrible day to come. Saturday she went in for fluids and a steroid shot to help ease her suffering. On Sunday I was so upset with myself that I hadn’t just euthanized her on Saturday because I could she was in the throes of this ugly illness and it was taking its toll. In a last minute desperate reach for some emotional relief, I joined a pet loss support group and poured my heart out, attached a picture of my sweet Abigail before this ugly thing had taken over her. I had mentioned in the caption that Abby was suffering from FIP wet form. One of the commentators mentioned the FIP Warrior group on Facebook. I was so happy and a little mad at myself that I hadn’t thought of looking for a FIP support group before now and without prompting from a stranger. I joined the group thinking I would at the very most get some emotional support and start the healthy grieving process. Within 10 minutes of posting Abby’s story I had admins and people contacting me about a medication used to treat FIP. I was so happy and felt hope for the first time since walking into the ED Tuesday night. So many nice people, professionals and friends alike. I was contacted by a lady in California that had the medication I would need to get Abby started on her road to recovery. It was going to be an 8 hour round trip but every mile was worth it. I was getting ready to lay down for a couple of hours of rest, I had been up all night at this point looking for medication near me, when I was messaged by a lady on vacation in Dubai. Her cat had FIP and was undergoing treatment. She let me have the code to her home and gave me the meds to treat Abby. We are now on day 3 of treatment and Abby has made a complete 180. While not out of the woods, we are hopeful.