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FIP Warrior:

Rocket

We first met Rocket on October 28th. We walked by his window in the adoption center at Petsmart and asked the worker if we could meet him. He was a 4 ½ month old blue/gray manx tabby mix with a super cute personality and a little bunny tail. We instantly fell in love and filled out the adoption paperwork on the spot. My husband contacted the rescue organization that manages the adoption center as soon as we got home and let them know we were serious about adopting him. They emailed him back a few days later and let us know our application had been approved! We were told that Rocket had developed an upper respiratory infection, and if we couldn’t take him the next day he would be moved to a foster home until he was better. He and a sibling had been abandoned and were found by an animal shelter, then taken to a foster home to be bottle fed, then moved to the rescue organization for adoption. We wanted him to be in his forever home as soon as possible, so we told them we could take him immediately and rushed out that night to buy supplies. Rocket joined our family on November 1st. He was the happiest kitten we had ever seen and was constantly purring and being affectionate. We both bonded with Rocket very fast over the short time we had with him because we had to keep him sequestered from our other two pets, so feeding and play time was all done in a separate room. He got over his URI about a week later and was able to play with our other cat and dog. They became best friends and were finally settling into a rhythm, then we noticed Rocket was napping more. We thought he was still recovering from the URI and needed rest, so we didn’t worry about it. Then he started eating less and being pickier about his food. Around November 21st he started developing a little pudge on his belly, which we weren’t too concerned about at first because we thought his body was just adjusting to different foods. But when the pudge started getting a little bigger, and his appetite was getting smaller, we knew something was wrong. We took him to the vet on November 24th and received the devastating news that he had (wet) FIP. We weren’t sure what it was so we did some research and sought out another opinion. On November 27th we received the same sad news, but found a more compassionate vet that wanted to help make Rocket more comfortable. He was very dehydrated, even though we saw him drinking water all the time, so he received some hydration injections under his skin and a shot to help with his nausea. He was also prescribed special food (which he hated) and a pill to help stimulate his appetite. My husband baked him a salmon filet and for a while that was the only thing he would eat, which my husband said was the highlight of his cooking career. Rocket’s activity level started to drop – just a week earlier he was running around the house and playing like a normal kitten, and by this point he spent most of the day sunning in his cat tree. We helplessly watched him decline over the next few days, but he was still cuddling, purring, and being affectionate so he was maintaining his personality. He was still able to walk and use the litter box, even though he was getting much slower, but by December 3rd we knew he was suffering. He had developed another URI which was turning into pneumonia. Within 12 days his stomach had almost tripled in size. I stayed home from work on December 4th and spent his last day cuddling with him up around my neck (his favorite spot to rest). I didn’t leave his side for more than 5 minutes total the entire day. That afternoon, my husband and I made the heartbreaking decision to have him put to sleep so he wouldn’t be suffering anymore. Rocket Manzo Evans peacefully crossed the Rainbow Bridge on December 4th around 6:30pm at 5 ½ months old. We had him for 4 and a half weeks. My husband and I are so grateful for the time we were able to share with Rocket, and for being able to give him a loving home in his final weeks of life. We miss him every day and hope that the future will bring a cure for FIP so that no other pet parent has to go through this type of loss.