Hello, my friends. In my March 12th post, I told you that we have been dealing with unhappy things and that I would update you when I could.
I must report that our beloved cat, Scipio, has died due to an unexpected illness.
You may recall that our other cat, Leah, passed away in January at age 17, of cancer. Her passing was expected.
Scipio, however, was only 6 years old, in the prime of his life. In early March, he suddenly became very sick, and was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). He passed away this past Monday.
I have kept cats all my life but had never heard of this disease, FIP. Most cat keepers that I know have also not heard of it unless they too lost a cat to it. That’s why I’m telling you about it today. If you keep cats, please, make sure you are educated about FIP, and please share this information with anyone you know who keeps cats.
FIP is caused by – supreme irony – a feline coronavirus. This cat-specific virus is no threat to humans, but it is common among cats, especially in crowded multi-cat environments. For the huge majority of cats, it will cause no more than the occasional cold or digestive upsets, but in a small number of cats, it can mutate into a variant that can trigger FIP, which is always fatal. This is what happened to our Scipio.
Veterinary medicine is working on FIP and feline coronavirus. There is a promising experimental therapeutic drug for FIP, but it is not available yet in the US. Hopefully it will be soon. Likewise, work is being done to develop screening and a reliable vaccine for the feline coronavirus. In the meantime, prevention and good health are the only protections against this disease.
For your reference, here are the best of the articles I read for information about FIP. Also speak with your veterinarian about it.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis, by Tammy Hunter, DVM; Ernest Ward, DVM, VCA Animal Hospitals
Feline Infectious Peritonitis, brochure by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), International Cat Care, a UK charitable organization
Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Katrin Hartmann, DVM, via PMC US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (long and technical)
Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Michelle L. Barry, DVM, via PMC US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
So we have lost both our darlings since January. We are utterly heartbroken and exhausted. I had promised you new work and art for sale, and I do have a selection of things in celebration of spring, but I have been preoccupied up to now.
Thank you for being patient and understanding.
Scipio Africanus Cutieus Patootieus Maximus was charming, funny, affectionate, and caring. He was the terror of all mice, but had only love for the rest of the world. He came to us at another time of mourning in our family, and healed our hearts with his gentle good humor and extreme cuteness. During his friend Leah’s illness, he stayed by her side, comforting her day and night. He is survived by his humans – me and my mom. He left us too soon, and we hope he has been reunited with Leah on the other side.