CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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Poor Little Scarlett...

If you've been reading my recent entries, then you know that our cat Kittie Scarlett went to the vet this week.

We got the results yesterday evening, which I reported in the entry linked above...

Well, I got another call from Dr. McC. today. He had the final result of her (very expensive) blood test, which shows that Scarlett has been exposed to Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).

Here's a little of what is known about the disease:

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is the leading infectious cause of cat death. FIP occurs when the cat reacts inappropriately to feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection. Most cats simply become infected, shed FCoV for a month or two, mount an immune response, eliminate the virus and live happily ever after. However, for reasons that we don't yet fully understand, instead of clearing FCoV infection, an unfortunate few cats develop FIP.

The doctor was quick to note that having been exposed to FIP doesn't mean that Scarlett has the disease. Apparently it's hard to determine if a cat has it. I'll quote again:

FIP is a notoriously difficult condition to diagnose, many other conditions present with very similar clinical signs. Definitive diagnosis is only possible at post mortem, or occasionally by biopsy.

Dr. McC. didn't recommend doing a biopsy, which is a good thing, as both Marilyn mistressmarilyn and I are entirely opposed to it. We see no point in putting Scarlett through any more tests.

Frankly, it's obvious she's a very sick little cat. Her coat is 'scruffy' and lacks sheen. She's always had difficulty breathing, ever since we got her. I was excited that she'd eaten well today, only to discover during dinner that she'd thrown it all up -- and right where she'd been sleeping, too. (sigh)

Anyway, we're resigned to the inevitable loss and ready to deal with it. It's going to be hard, but it is what it is. We're glad to have had her all this time (nearly a year now), and believe we gave her a happy home after the trials of her young life.

We always knew she wasn't that healthy, so we're simply not that surprised by this. It hurts, but yes, we will deal. Both Marilyn and I think it's very clear that she has FIP -- and she certainly fits the 'dry' description of the disease.

Hopefully she won't give the disease to Colin, who is as healthy as a horse (and then some). He shows no signs of any illness, thankfully.

In recent months Scarlett has been so attached to Marilyn that it's difficult to even express it properly. When Marilyn is home from work Scarlett wants only to be on her -- sitting in her lap at the computer or lying on her while Marilyn reclines on the sofa to watch TV or to nap. She sleeps under the covers with Marilyn at night now, right up against her. I've never seen a cat show this much love for a person -- and I've seen a lot of cats during my lifetime.

I know it will be very hard on Marilyn to lose Scarlett -- and I'm amazed by how patient Marilyn has been with her on days when she was bordering exhaustion. Somehow Marilyn would put up with Scarlett's demands for attention and affection, even when she was trying to do work from home on the computer -- or when she was dealing with the chronic pain of her shoulder that makes it hard for her to lie in a way for Scarlett to rest comfortably on her.

Marilyn has been wonderful with this sweet little 'rescue cat' that came into our lives, plain and simple.

It's interesting, because originally Scarlett was very much 'my' cat -- just as originally Colin was very much 'Marilyn's' cat.

But Scarlett was determined to be close to Marilyn, who went out of her way to show Scarlett affection so she wouldn't be envious of Colin. They've bonded in a special way and shared the special love that happens between cat and person. It's about quality, rather than quantity, after all.

Our friend Mitch has lost three cats this winter -- one of them (Casper) he'd had for quite a long time. It was hard for him, after losing his dad last year. His cats are his family -- the family he lives with, anyway. He talked to me about it one day and expressed how hard it was not to feel very emotional about the losses. And we discussed the issue of medical expenses, which seem so high when your budget is tight...

I haven't told him yet about Scarlett, but I know he'll understand what we're feeling. He's been there, after all.

Scarlett made a big effort yesterday after being at the vet, by the way. She kept trying to eat -- and even got down a good amount of tuna that she didn't throw up. She spent time in the living room on the back of the sofa where she watched the squirrels and birds in the back yard -- and especially the hummingbirds that we have all the time now. She was even friendlier than usual with Colin. (smile) And very affectionate with both Marilyn and me.

But today was a tough day for her. She spent most of it downstairs, curled up and sleeping. (It's been cold here, and she can't deal well with the cold considering her weight and all.) And as I said before, she threw up much of what she'd eaten.

She did give it another try, though! During dinner she dashed upstairs beside me. While I was fixing more food for us, she got down and really went to eating, fast and furious. (She's starving, after all.) Right now she's settled down for our nighttime nap -- as are Colin and Marilyn. I'm dealing with the inability to lie down on a full stomach (the usual thing going on with me lately) -- plus I wanted to write this all down tonight.

I need to write an email to friend Greta who was the one who 'found' Scarlett in the first place -- and arranged for us to have her. I know she'll be upset, but I'm sure she'll still be glad that Scarlett came into our home.

To those friends reading this, please forgive me for not cutting this entry. I should have, I suppose... And I rambled a lot here, but what the hell...

Anyway, I'd like to get more photos of Scarlett -- and maybe even some more mini-movies, too. She's been a lovely cat and we want to remember her forever.

I guess I'll go down now and have that nap with the cats.

By the way, Marilyn had a rough, rough day at work today. She had to let her seasonal assistant go, for one thing. So I'm delighted that she's taking tomorrow (Friday) off work. We'll go in and work one day this weekend, for sure. But tomorrow we'll do other things -- like be with our cats and write and relax.

You know what? Life is good, no matter what.

Tags: 2007, cats, february-2007, feline-infectious-peritonitis, kittie-scarlett, marilyn, mitch, vet

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