"Being diagnosed with a serious illness can seem like a roller coaster ride; scary, up and down, out of control.
Remember, the following is also true of roller coasters:
1. It's less scary with a friend
2. If you stay on the ride to the end you won't get hurt
3. It's okay to scream"
~ borrowed from a post by Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis
1. Yes much less scary with a friend - Mother/son bonding is a little known benefit of having a fippy cat.
2. Not sure about point 2 - one can step off the ride at any time by euthanizing cats (but not humans yet in australia) It goes smoothly for some but others have had a traumatic time, notably if the cat freaks out at the vets and tries to scramble back into the kitty carrier or dies with its eyes open. There are misdiagnoses - it is not easy to diagnose dry FIP and it is suspected many cats will be euthanized who may have recovered from some other self-limiting illness - or fail to receive the correct treatment
3. aaaarghhh!!!! Don't automatically expect understanding from your friends, or nearest and dearest. Even those with pets have been known to utter "It's only a cat!" Note the use of IT. Use the padded cell of cyberspace and do your screaming in a dedicated FIP support forum or facebook group.
The ups and downs of FIP are extreme. Mishka has earned the nickname 'Lazarus cat' - i have video evidence of resurrection.
A Long Ride
On Friday last I was thinking "euthanase" as either her appetite was so poor (bad sign) or Mish was now the fussiest cat in the world in space - fussier even than the one pictured on the fussy-cat food which she is too fussy to eat. Fussiness v. inappetance is a good sign (expansion of vocabulary is another little known benefit of FIP in humans) But the universe took charge and sent our new vet away for the weekend so euthanasia was not possible till Monday earliest.
Plus she woke me with retching noises at 4 am yesterday. For a panic stricken moment I thought we were back at square one with a chest full of fluid (our acquaintance with FIP began with an early morning emergence vet visit after I mistook symptoms of suffocation for a hairball). Sat up with her a bit longer to be sure it really was a hairball this time and was so tired I forgot to turn off the grill before leaving the house.
The universe then saved us as my husband came home at lunchtime instead of having a chat with me at the health expo, due to a 'misunderstanding' and switched it off or I might have burnt house down and kitten up!
At dinner time I finally seized the bull by the horns ( poor Mish by the cheeks ) and syringed in some Lectade with Nutrigel and for good measure smeared a fingerful on her chin --> about a minute of unhappy vanilla flavoured cat. Some fish was offered to take away the yuk and HUZZAH she ate it!
|claws moving human cushion back into place|
Later I lugged the fippy little furball complaining out to the lounge room to watch tv with dad. Couch potato mode is actually classified as 'active' if you are a tired fippy cat because you are out socialising, snacking and grooming rather than buried in a furry heap alone in a bedroom feeling sorry for yourself. She got comfy on her favourite human cushion, Kevin McCloud showed us some nice houses while she polished off seconds, then tidied her fur and fell asleep - the picture of a contented kitty. Her breathing is not wheezy anymore - I even hauled out the baby stethescope to check. A nice big hairball on the carpet would have made us all even more happy!
Now i had to edit this post to tell the end of the story....
We had decided to drain her at home to prevent the extreme trauma she suffered from having this done twice before with two different vets and made preparations which were delayed by the receptionist from hell. This woman specialises in mucking me around, why I have no idea - first she said to come over and pick up the sedative, then when i show up instead made me book an appointment a few days later but when i arrived for that she claimed the vet didn't do appointments on that morning and he wasn't there - lies lies - he was out the back. So with a critically ill cat at home I got yelled at and belittled, had to beg ,..... shaking and tearful I finally was given the required meds. It was almost too late.
Mishka was still happy and active though very full of fluid as it was now three not two weeks since her last drainage, ate a good lunch as she wasn't going to be drained until the evening. Husband came home to find she had vomited all the food and a small hairball but things didn't settle - she kept bringing up fluid. We suspected impacted hairball and she's no candidate for surgery - I REFUSED to lose her to a hairball! Frantic text message to a supportive vet, purchased catlax and shoved it in; the vomiting stopped overnight so we drained Mishka 400 mls and gave her subcut fluids /vitamin C. Afterwards she looked the best she had in a month. The upshot is that she will need draining perhaps every two weeks unless we can get control of the inflammation leading to the effusion.