It’s taken me a while to post this because even though it has a happy ending, it’s just so hard to relive all Malorie went through and almost losing her.
My mighty little warrior Malorie started showing signs that something was wrong when she was just four months old. She had a bit of a fever and her tummy was getting bloated. My vet ran lots of test to try to find out what was wrong. Meanwhile, Malorie quit playing and spent all of her time laying on the modem. I think she needed the warmth it gave off. She was still eating, thankfully, but not as much as she should have been, and her tummy kept getting more bloated. Her sisters were growing and playing and all she could do was watch them. It was so sad and so scary.
My vet said she suspected it was FIP and explained what FIP was and that it had always been fatal. She told me to try not to lose hope. She knew of a possible option to try but she wanted to consult a specialist. He agreed with her diagnosis. I was lucky to have her as my vet. She told me about FIP Warriors. I had never even used Facebook (and had never planned to) so she showed me what to do to get invited to the site. She also warned me about how expensive and difficult the possible cure would be and that not all cats could be cured. I told her that I promised Malorie that I would do whatever I could to get her better. (My retirement funds would just have to take the hit.)
I immediately joined Facebook and asked to join FIP Warriors and then waited anxiously to see if I would be accepted. It was a huge learning curve and an amazing test of trust. I was told I needed to send over a thousand dollars to someone I just met on Facebook and then they would send me the first three vials of the black market medicine. At the time, Mutian was the only brand available, and the most expensive of any that had been available previously or since. But, it was the only option if I wanted to try to save Malorie. I sent the money and then watched the videos of how to give an injection to a cat. I bought a baby scale, something else I never thought I would need to do. I went to the vet and bought syringes and needles to use until the ones I ordered came.
I had the medicine overnighted and when it came, our journey really began. Injecting this unlicensed and painful medicine into my tiny sick kitten was almost unbearable. Reading the success stories on FIP Warriors every chance I got was the only thing that kept me going. Then, the shots started working. She started getting more active and eating better and the belly bloat started going away. I was scared to let myself believe I could really save her but it looked like it was going to happen. I was so grateful for that little sliver of hope the vet gave me and I help onto it for dear life.
Then, Malorie felt so good that I couldn’t hold her to inject her. I had only been able to get the first 15 of the 84 doses into her. I tried all of the tricks everyone on Warriors suggested but nothing was working. I was terrified that she was going to die because of my inability to get the medicine into her so I had to consider our options. I ordered Mutian capsules and received help with the next two injections while I waited for the pills to arrive. (Even more expensive than the injections.) Fortunately, Malorie didn’t have any digestive or neurological issues so the capsules seemed to be an option. I had already decided that if the pills didn’t work I was going to hire a vet tech to come to my house every day to do the injections.
I had pilled cats before but never like this. She had to have multiple Mutian capsules daily and she had to have a different pill (Denamarin) daily as well but at least 4 hours apart from the Mutian. We had a few struggles but for the most part, she wasn’t too difficult to pill. I freaked out the night she bit into one of them and orange foam started coming out of her mouth while she spastically ran around the house trying to get rid of what she thought was attacking her. I was finally able to catch her and amazingly, despite my own anxiety over what was happening, I was able to calm her, clean the orange foam off of her, and finish the process. Lesson learned: Always make sure the pill is far enough back that she can’t bite into it.
Every night I weighed Malorie to see if her dose needed to change. I kept a log and recorded her weight each day along with her dose and how she was doing, including appetite issues or when her belly started to go away or when she started to play more. With the Mutian capsules, she wasn’t allowed to eat for an hour before or a half hour after pill time. By the time we switched to pills, she was eating enough that I had to distract her for the hour and a half so she wouldn’t want to eat. It became our playtime unless she wanted to play with her sisters instead. I enjoyed our special time together.
Toward the end of treatment, when I was getting approval to stop her treatment after 84 days, we had a scare. The Mutian vet thought she was showing signs of possible neurological FIP. The Mutian vets reviewed all of her information, asked me questions about her behavior, and watched videos of her walking and jumping. I checked with my FIP Warrior admin as well. My vet had also told me that Malorie’s bloodwork looked great and she thought she should be ok to stop. However, she said since Malorie was her first FIP kitty to ever be cured, she was glad I was getting expert opinions from the others. Finally, they all agreed that she was ok and could stop treatment. I was so relieved but really appreciative that they all spent the time evaluating Malorie to make sure it was safe to stop. The support I received all the way through was wonderful.
We finished the treatment and all of the medical tests and obstacles along the way and then Malorie went into observation with more tests to make sure she wasn’t relapsing. It was so hard for me the first night that I didn’t give her the life-saving medicine. I kept thinking that if the medicine was saving her life, then stopping didn’t sound like the right thing to do. I would love to know what went through her mind that first night of observation. After all that she had been through, when it would have been pill time, I sat down with her in the chair where I gave her the pills every night for so many weeks. Then, I just held her and loved on her and gave her a lickable treat. She had to wonder what was going on. Maybe Mommy forgot to do the pills?
Observation got less scary as we went along since I could see how well she was doing and she didn’t show any signs of relapse. After 84 days of observation, she was finally CURED. It was a long and nerve-racking journey but I’ve never regretted it for a second.
For the first year after she was cured, I continued to weigh her daily. In the beginning of our FIP journey, she was dying so I gave her anything she wanted. Then, I was so happy that it seemed like she was going to live that I continued to give her anything she wanted. She ended up putting on too much weight for her little kitten frame. (I think most kitties do during this ordeal.) I couldn’t risk the weight causing me to lose her to heart disease or diabetes or something so I had to put her on a diet. Again, once I found the right food, my little warrior did great. She lost the extra weight. Now I only weigh her 2 or 3 times a week just to keep her in check. She’s gained back part of the weight she lost but she’s also become more of a cat instead of a kitten and the weight looks good on her. She doesn’t look overweight.
Without FIP Warriors, Mutian (or some form of GS), and my wonderful vet, Malorie wouldn’t even have made it to six months old. She turned two years old this month. I’m still amazed and grateful when I look at her. She’s such a happy and healthy little girl.