Sunday morning we lost our youngest cat, Cricket. He was a year and a half old, and we had had him for almost a year. He was a rescue from the Brazos Valley Feral Cat Alliance, a maine coon mix who'd been found on a construction site only two months before we took him home. When we got him, he was aggressive to other animals (and none too keen on people, to be honest) with a meow that sounded like someone was stepping on his tail no matter what. When he left us, he was a loving boy who would head butt you for attention, was sweet to our older boy
and even good around small dogs. His meow had changed to a chirping sound, and he had a purr you could hear from the other room.
We came home yesterday to find him behind Sweetie's bed. He didn't suffer. He hadn't had any symptoms except some weight loss we had attributed to a change to indoor-formula cat food, a brand that was thankfully not on any of the recent recall lists. We have a friend who works in a veterinary medical diagnostic lab, and she was able to get him taken in for a necropsy while we had the other cat checked by a vet just in case. Our friend called monday to tell us that it looks like Cricket had Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), contracted before we took him home, for which there is no cure. The most we could have done would be to make him happy and comfortable in his last year, and I like to think that we did that.
Chances of his passing it on to his big brother Heed, our five year old dumb-as-a-brick siamese mix, are very low, but we are taking him in tomorrow to be tested. If he rides out the next month FIP-free, then he will probably be fine. We've quarantined the old litterbox area and set up a new one, and are in the process of disinfecting the entire house (which won't help at all since Heed's already been exposed, but if I don't do something physical I'll go nuts). To read up more on FIP, please follow this link:
I'm not very religious, but I'm praying for Heed. I know it sounds silly to ask a bunch of near-strangers to keep a housecat in their thoughts, so I won't. All I ask is that you tell the people and animals in your life how much they mean to you.
~Persian Pen Name
p.s. Update on Heed: While we were getting Heed's bloodwork done for the FIP test, the vet noticed that his urine specific gravity is "on the high end of normal or the low end of high, depending on how you look at it". We got it checked again a few days later, and it was the same, so that rules out just being stressed that day. This isn't too big of a deal, since he's a very large cat anyway (16 lbs) and at better health (aside from the possible FIP) than he's been at in years. It just means he needs a more kidney-friendly diet, so we're switching him to a special wet food, which he'll love.
Heed's always been very good about not going to the bathroom where he's not supposed to. When we go on trips, the first thing I do is show him exactly where he's supposed to go, and he always lets you know if for some reason he can't get to it. So at the vet's office yesterday, all he was supposed to do was have some blood drawn, and at some point, pee so it could be tested. But our little polite boy, not having been shown by me where it was okay to go, held it for ten hours straight (complaining the whole time I'm sure). Eventually they had to go in with a needle and extract some urine, and we were allowed to take him home - where the first thing he did was go use the litterbox.
He may be dumb as a brick, but at least he's considerate.