FIP or Feline Infectious Peritonitis is considered fatal, the diagnosis no cat owner wants to hear. Tragically, FIP occurs mostly to kittens. Reading about the disease is one thing, hearing a personal experience is another. Chris Biddle of New Windsor, IL tells her story, and also describes how she intends to make a difference.
When I created the Facebook event, Mr. Swanson’s Day, I couldn‘t write a description. It was simply too hard. Now, I feel I should, so everyone knows what happened to my little “cheese puff.” Mr. Swanson was a Maine Coon shelter kitty that I fostered through our local animal shelter. He and his two sisters came to me as scraggly, scrawny, little puff balls in need. How could I say no? So, at about six weeks old they joined our household.
Mr. Swanson’s sister, Chance, died early from surgery complications. Just Mr. Swanson and his sister, Missi, were left. They were only with us over a year when I noticed he was losing weight. I took him to his vet and we started him on medications and a special diet but those things didn’t help. Back to the vet we went. More medications, syringe feedings and forced fluids. My little boy wasn’t getting any better. I opted for a second opinion and took him to a different veterinarian. who hospitalized Mr. Swanson to get him hydrated and eating again. The first day, he started eating, just a little. Good news! The second day he was in the hospital, the vet asked if they could do an x-ray to see what was happening. Later that day, I got the call that I had been praying I never get. My boy had Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), which is fatal.
Still, I couldn't let my baby go without trying everything possible.I returned to my regular vet office with Mr. Swanson because I felt he needed to be with people he knew. My vet offered one more test just to be sure that Mr. Swanson really had s FIP. The day the diagnosis was confirmed was the hardest day of my life.
I had to make the decision to end my baby’s suffering. Now, his pain is my pain but when you love someone like I love him, you’ll do anything. I still live with tremendous guilt but it’s something that I have learned to live with.
I created the Facebook event, Mr. Swanson’s day, because, before he died, I had a dream that I was suppose to share him with the world. I didn’t know why but somehow, I was supposed to tell everyone about my my little guy and about FIP. I thought it sounded crazy but I wanted to create a memorial for him that people worldwide could attend. That is why I chose a Facebook event. For one day, April 9th, everyone “attending” our event will change their profile pictures to a photograph of Mr. Swanson. Simple, yet meaningful. I created Mr. Swanson’s Day and have met many friends and learned that each of us deals with our grief differently. This event has helped lessen my grief and I think a little kitty angel knew I needed that. It is my hope that Mr. Swanson’s Day will help raise awareness for shelter pets and hopefully, educate the world about FIP. The Winn Feline Foundation has a fund specifically designed to support FIP, called the Bria Fund.
MORE ON FIP:
My one on one interview with FIP expert Dr. Diane Addie.
FIP Awareness Video, Dr. Susan Little
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