View All FIP Warriors
We rescued Rowdy in April of 2014. From moment he fell asleep in my arms at the rescue center, my then girlfriend (more on that in a moment) and I knew, much to his older brother Coal's dismay, he had found his forever family. Rowdy was a unique little soul, we always joked that he was "broken" as he never really learned how to actually meow (except for on car rides) and had a teeny-tiny purr that rarely showed up. It was almost a guarantee whenever we couldn't find him in his usual spot under the bed or in a closet shelf that we had to clear just for him, he would be snoozing away in the bottom of the laundry basket. Waking up every morning to his little silhouette looking out the bay window in our bedroom made sure we started the day with a smile. Then no matter how terrible of a day we had, Coal and Rowdy were always there waiting by the door or sleeping on the bed when we returned home, ready for food or pets (usually both). He'd find the most inopportune times to want to be on your lap while on the computer, not caring about laying down on the keyboard or turning the mousepad a catpad. If you didn't know what his actual name was, you might be mistaken that we had just simply named him "Get off the counter!", that little guy loved being where he everywhere wasn't supposed to be, or at least where we thought he shouldn't be.
Rowdy and his brother were the first to know about the engagement ring and the plans to make our little family official. We were engaged in fall of 2016 and married New Year's 2018 – everything was perfect for our little family and we started a plan to expand, first step was a new home.
We moved into that house the first of the month and tried to make that transition as stress-free for our boys as possible, we did everything in our power to make sure they loved the new house as much as we did. It took a week or so, and he was done with full-time hiding-under-the-bed and was adventuring around his new home, finding new spots and discovering all the new smells.
Our short battle with FIP started the last weeks of September 2018. Being that we had just moved in, most of his behavioral changes were chalked up to a new and changing environment. It wasn't until we noticed some drastic weight-loss that we knew something wasn't quite right. All this coincided with when his check-up was due, so to the veterinarian's office we went.
Over the course of the next week we went through a handful of diagnoses and trips to our Veterinarian, Dr. Knight. The first was a sore tooth/gums that would possibly need to be extracted pending x-rays. Some pain medication and some antibiotics should clear up most of it, and hopefully he would gain his full appetite back. Then his blood work came back and showed some elevated bilirubin levels, so we scheduled an ultrasound with an internalist, Dr. Pallo. The ultrasound showed some swollen lymph nodes in his abdomen, near his pancreas. Blood work had ruled out pancreatitis, so our attention was now directed toward cancer, we scheduled a biopsy to confirm what we thought was the worst possible news.
He went in for his biopsy procedure on the morning of October 1st. During that procedure, Dr. Pallo told us his oxygen levels kept dropping leading her to x-ray his chest and found fluid. It was at that point we started learning about a horrible disease called Wet Feline Infectious Peritonitis, how rare it was to come-up in a cat his age and the seemingly limited time we had left with our little man. After draining the fluid from his chest, he would spend one-night at the Veterinarian's office for observation, and if everything went well, we would be able to give him some steroids and it would clear him up enough that he could come home for a few days, weeks or months, to be loved and pampered before we inevitably would have a decision to make.
The call came, draining went well, it didn't rapidly fill back up. We prepared for his return home with some of his favorite wet food and had plans to take the remainder of the week off work, just to make the most out of what time he had left. All the while hoping he would beat the odds and outlive all expectations. That morning we went to the veterinarian office to pick him up, checked out and was directed to the waiting room where in a short time we expected to see our Rowdy ready to come home. We waited and ten-minutes tuned into thirty-minutes. The office was busy, we assumed they either had an emergency to attend to, or had simply missed the call from the front desk that he was ready to come home. After what seemed like an eternity, we were directed to an exam room – our hearts sank, we assumed what followed wasn't going to be anything good.
Dr. Pallo let us know that as they were preparing for his return home he began showing neurological signs that the disease had spread to his brain. He had issues standing and didn't want to move. We were advised that if we didn't decide for him, seizures and rapid decline of his health is what would follow. So, we made what we felt like the most loving and humane decision was. Rowdy crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 11:30 on October 2nd, 2018. He was just shy of four-and-a-half years old.
Rowdy and Coal were the cats we wanted our future children to grow up with, but this terrible disease took that chance away from us. He was our little fighter, and I am positive he did all he could. I am thankful we got to say goodbye, and got to look into his eyes and tell him he was loved and that his mom, dad and brother would miss him very much.
Until we meet again Rowdy cat. And please, get off the counter...