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FIP Warrior:


In May of 2016 I sold my house in MD and prepared to move to FL. However, my new home would not be ready until the end of July. My two cats, Lexie and Miranda, were not able to stay with me at my son’s house for those 10 weeks, but I was fortunate to have a dear friend who kept them before I moved. Finally, my two babies and I were settled in our new place, but before long Lexie began vomiting and losing weight. After a few visits to the vet, my precious calico was diagnosed with cancer, after a scan revealed a large abdominal mass. I was beyond heartbroken, but consoled myself with knowing I had still had my beautiful NFC, Miranda. About a year later, I noticed she had a bare patch on her tummy along with a small scaly spot that eventually healed. In September of 2017, I took her to the vets for her annual rabies shot, but the vet would not give her the vaccination because she appeared to have an URI. She was treated for that, but it seemed to come and go. I began to notice her overall appearance was declining, and her normally gorgeous mane seemed to be disappearing. Her fluffy tail got thin, but her sweet personality remained. She was the most loving cat that I ever had! Every night we had a ritual when I would announce it was time for bed, and no matter where she was, she made a beeline for the bed, jumped up and waited for me. When I put the light out, she curled up next to the pillow, I would put my arm around her, and just like a kid with her favorite teddy, I would go to sleep listening to her purr. As the weeks passed, she began losing weight, and underneath her soft fluffy fur I began to feel bones. She lost interest in her food and began vomiting just as Lexie had only a year before. Back we went to the vets for bloodwork and shots, but nothing helped and no diagnosis was offered. By mid-November I switched vets, but after more tests we were no closer to an answer and my precious baby was disappearing before my eyes. Two weeks later we tried a third vet, and this time this kind young man looked at me with tears in his eyes, and said he didn’t need to do any tests because he was sure it was FIP. I had never heard of this horrible disease, so my first question was, how do we make her well? I explained I was going out of town in two weeks for Christmas and would be gone for three. What was I going to do? I couldn’t leave her! I’ll never forget his reply. “She isn’t going to last that long. She’ll be gone before you leave.” My heart broke and I left the office in tears, refusing to believe what I had heard. I took my baby home and soon she was unable to jump up on the bed or even the couch. As sick as she was, she stayed with me, either on my lap during the day, or beside my pillow at night. I could feel every bone in her tiny neck, and then I noticed her tummy ballooned and was quite pregnant looking. In spite of all this, she continued to purr, even when her breathing became labored. Then she stopped eating. And drinking. And using the litter box. In a last-ditch effort to save her I headed to yet another vet, but I knew in my heart my sweet Miranda would not be leaving with me. I sobbed all the way to the office. This didn’t make sense to me. I had done some reading about FIP and she did not really fit the profile. She had been in good health, had not been around many other cats except for when she was a tiny kitten, and she was six years old. Where did this virus come from? Was Abbie, the new kitten that I had adopted six months earlier, a carrier? Did Lexie have FIP and not cancer? This last vet looked at Miranda, and said, “I have been a vet for 25 years, and have only seen this a handful of times. This screams FIP. There is no doubt. Now we will have to decide what is best for her.” I knew it was time to let her go. They sedated her and I sat for 20 minutes, holding her and telling her how much I loved her and that I would see her again someday. My gorgeous, sweet girl crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge on December 15, 2017. I am fast approaching the one-year anniversary and the pain and emptiness of losing her is as horrible as the first night without her. When she left, she took a piece of my heart with her.