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FIP Warrior:

Vishka Vila

(P.S: only now I see there is the limit to the length of the story. I wrote it 3 times longer, I apologize. Can I please upload it the way it is, maybe in .pdf format, and then you decide what to do with it, publish it or not? ) here's text - part 1: This is a story of a white kitten who died of dry form of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) on April 12, 2019 at the age of 9½ months. The story is long, but I have a load of grief which I hope to somehow ease by sharing. I also hope, if anyone is going through a similar situation, they might learn from my experience, and maybe avoid some mistakes... Cat's name is Vishka Vila. In my language (Croatian) it means 'Vis Fairy', as she was born in Vis, a small Mediterranean town on the island of Vis in the Adriatic Sea, 50 km off the mainland coast of Croatia. Vis is a beautiful isolated island. But, considering pets, isolation has a seamy side: as there is still no vet on the island, there are problems with feline population (stray cats, inbreeding, genetic disorders, infectious diseases). Vishka was born in late June 2018, at the onset of summer and the FIFA football World Cup (a time of glory for the Croatian football). I always thought this had to do with Vishka's amazing ball-playing ability, despite her nearly complete vision loss. Our little Messi loved playing paper-ball football, and we loved watching her dribblings, skillful passes, sharp snatches... My friend found Vishka during a vacation in Vis, crouching on a garden wall in the early August heat. Some 5-6 week old kitten, completely alone and barely alive, shaking with flu. Her coat messy and dull, her eyes&nose glued with an upper respiratory infection. Obviously she'd been without mother for a while (either her mom had abandoned her, or some accident separated them). Didn't look like the kitten was going to make it, but still my friend tried, took care of her for 4 weeks. At the end of August, the nearly recovered kitty was transferred to Zagreb, where my friend had already had pets at home. Her Bengal male wouldn't accept the little newcomer, so on Sept.1, the kitten was adopted by me. In honor of her homeland I named her Vishka. Vishka and I bonded quickly and strongly. There was something unusual about her - an ethereal charm, a peculiar depth - as if she was both baby and old. People would notice it right away, called her 'wise', 'special', 'magical', I called her Vis Fairy. She had a sweet, almost dog-like nature: followed me around, came when I called her name, graceful and cuddly. Vishka didn't meow - rather, she twittered, singing like a little bird (her invitation for adventure and play)... She was my first cat and only pet. Having no previous experience, I took her to the vets regularly, followed every instruction. After antibiotic therapy Vishka seemed almost cured. A playful purry kitten, with only her left eye a bit runny, watery - a clear liquid with occasional traces of blood. I noticed her eyes didn't follow the objects exactly. So I took her to the vet ophthalmologist. Diagnosis: a form of cataract not suitable for surgery. Vishka was nearly blind, so she had to be kept indoors - outside she could go only under supervision. Eventually, though, her blindness didn't seem as much of a problem - at home she moved skillfully, like an acrobat. In unfamiliar places she was very cautious, I was attentive, so it was ok. Still, there was her runny eye to deal with. Ophthalmological test for chlamydia was negative. The 2 types of first prescribed eye-drops brought no improvement, but eventually the corticosteroid eye-drops cleared her eyes. The ophthalmological treatment was long (lasted for 3 months: Oct-Jan), and Vishka seemed stressed out with many visits to the vet and therapies administered twice a day. She became less cheerful, sometimes crouching in odd places. But I thought this therapy was in her best interest, and it would soon be over... At 4 months old, Vishka weighed 2 kg (4.4 lb). She was never much of an eater, but wasn't picky either. Then at the end of October, after her eye therapy had begun, Vishka started vomiting. She would vomit occasionally, say twice a week, all the way through February. We thought it might be due to hasty eating. So we decided to finish the eye therapy first, and then do the blood tests - not to overdo with too many vet visits. I gave Vishka best quality food, vitamins, hairball remedies. But the more careful I was with her nutrition, the more picky she became. She seemed quiet, played less, slept more. In January it was obvious she was lethargic, maybe depressed. We thought it was due to her blindness (the vet said she had probably become completely blind by then). I blamed myself for working too much, not spending enough time playing with my dear Vishka. I tried to imagine how hard it must be for a blind kitten to stay long hours alone, with no visual stimulation to at least be able to look out the window.