View All FIP Warriors

FIP Warrior:

Vishka Vila

(Vishka Vila story - part 2/3:) So I brought her acoustic toys, invented structures for her to climb, left the radio on while I was away. I sometimes took her outside, for she loved nature: climbing trees, listening to birds, feeling scents and sunshine. To lift her spirits, I even tried to socialize Vishka with my friend's husky puppy. But it didn't succeed, as husky grew very fast - he became too big and too wild - just too frightening for a little blind kitten... Vishka's growth was stunted. She was smaller than cats of her age, and she had never gone into heat. Vets predicted it would still happen, so I planned to neuter her after she recovered from the eye therapy. Her vomiting ceased in February. (Actually, it was when Vishka started to eat so little that there was nothing left to vomit - but I didn't notice it at first, so I thought she recovered.) So in the end of February I took her to the vet for a preanesthetic evaluation before neutering. Blood tests showed slight protein increase, fiv/felv negative. She was petite: 8 months old, weighed 2,15 kg (4,7 lb). Abdomen ultrasound showed kidney surface malformation, with no abdominal fluid. Vet sent us to the Veterinary Faculty Internal Diseases Clinic for further tests. In March we went there every week for different tests: blood/urine, SDMA, Leishmaniasis, X-rays, repeated abdomen ultrasound and fiv/felv tests. The only abnormalities were mild hyperglobulinemia and kidney rim signs. Everything else was normal: internal organs, lymph nodes, cardiological ultrasound, temperature, blood pressure. Still, due to cat's early history (problematic origins, premature weaning, separation from mother and littermates), the vet said they suspected some grave infectious disease (didn't say which); they needed biopsy in order to diagnose. FIP was never mentioned, and I had no idea it existed. I obsessively googled Vishka's symptoms, but they were too vague; that only made me more confused. At night I had nightmares about Vishka's surgery, her belly cut and rimmed with shark teeth, Vishka giving birth to big slimy white rabbits... Gradually Vishka developed anorexia and compulsive malnutrition habits (licking concrete and stone, eating soil and cat litter). She lost weight, so by the end of March (9 months old) she weighed only 1,97 kg (4,3 lb). Her eye started running again with traces of blood. Vishka seemed to be slowing down; she became increasingly passive and disinterested. We would start playing football, but very soon she'd quit, and just crouch on the floor. Mostly she wanted to curl in my lap, lie on my body at night. Every morning she would sit on my chest, waiting for the special head-to-back massage, which I happily gave her (those were the only times she purred). I would open the window and put Vishka on the window sill covered in blanket - that she seemed to enjoy: just lying there quietly, in sunshine, sensing the exterior surroundings. It looked as if the old person within her prevailed; Vishka was gradually fading... An abrupt decline of her condition happened on April 4 - a day after Vishka's cardiological ultrasound examination, which had caused her much stress. Next morning her back legs become flabby; she started staggering, kept falling aside. She was disorientated, couldn't find her food bowl. I went to the closest vet immediately. He said Vishka's ataxia might be a neurological symptom of a disease, but can also be due to shock, e.g. stress at the vet. Then I called the Faculty Clinic vet; over the phone she told me it sounded like dry FIP to her. She gave me an appointment at the Faculty Clinic five days later. So in the meantime I googled FIP on my own; I learned it could be triggered by stress. Confusion, panic and guilt grew in me... In those five days I spent every possible moment with Vishka. I hand-fed her, helped her get to the litter box. She was moving sluggishly, often losing balance. At night in bed she'd wake me up as she was trying to climb on my body, but kept falling back on the mattress. Her skin was occasionally twitching, and so was her tail; it would swing so uncontrollably that she was hitting her own face with it. Her character changed: she shut down, withdrew from the usual communication, wouldn't let me touch her. That morning when Vishka's ataxia first showed, I followed her, shocked, as she wabbled around. Then she slowly turned toward me, with just one long, silent meow - a cry for help that broke my heart. That was the last time I ever heard her voice; her vocalization terminated...