Pet-Peeves: other cats, empty food bowls, being cold
Favorite Toy: she seldom plays, but she likes catnip
Favorite Nap Spot: the computer chair
Favorite Food: she likes dry food, I think canned food reminds her of when her mouth hurt
Skills: she really scarfs down food for someone with no teeth. She also snores
indoors and outdoors
Arrival Story: warning, this story is sad so skip it if you cry over sad cat stories like I do.
On October 5th of 2000, Moppet wandered into my yard, dragging her back legs. She was skin and bones. I tried to feed her, but she wouldn't eat. She had breath like a rotten corpse. All she wanted was to be held. Even though I was a stranger, she scrambled right up on my lap. It was very sad and awful.
I took her to the vet, thinking he'd need to put her to sleep. She was a full size 5 year old cat by his estimate, but weighed only 4 pounds. The vet thought he could save her if he took her rotting teeth out. So I whipped out the credit card and out came the teeth. She needed one more operation to remove fragments of teeth remaining in her jaw, and a few steroid shots for inflammation. He tried to leave her canine teeth, but one fell out later and the others became loose and had to go. I carried her around a lot when she was recovering as walking was hard for her and going up the ladder to the sleeping loft on her own would have been dangerous, as weak as she was. It was a great relief when she could eat again and stopped running away from the food dish in pain. She became a big, happy 12 pound kitty who loved to eat, even though she had no teeth. She was the most affectionate female cat I have ever had. Saving her was the best money I've ever spent.
I got some clues about Moppet's previous life once.
A year or so after Moppet showed up, the neighbor from the end of the block came over for a BBQ and saw her. He said she looked like another neighbor's cat known as "Tiger" who "got sick and wandered off." It really made me mad that someone would just let a 5 year old cat wander off to die, and not bother to look for her to get her to the vet. After all, she lived almost 7 1/2 years after she had her teeth taken out. When she was alive I always worried some neighbor would come over and say "that's our cat, you know!" Then I'd have to sock them for what they let happen to her, and for trying to re-claim her.
Bio: She liked to sleep with my arm wrapped around her, under the covers like a teddy-bear. You could pet and hold her for a very long time before she wanted to get up. It was like she could never get enough love. Even though I always worked odd hours, Moppet would often wait in the driveway for me to get home, then lead me back to the house, while giving me a good talking to about how long I'd been gone.
On 2/26/08 Moppet was diagnosed with FIP. Her immune system was probably never normal, hence the early tooth loss, heaving spells and other strange symptoms she had the whole time I knew her. At about 6:20 a.m. on 2/27/08 Moppet died at home with her mommy of FIP.
This is the diary entry I made shortly after Moppet died. I'm just reposting it here because it got lost in the archives. A couple people have told me that it had helped them figure out what their own cats had died of, so I figure it is serving as I hoped it would, and should be moved up here so it won't be lost again.
This is Moppet's mommy. I want to thank everybody for their kind words and rosettes and gifts to Moppet. She was a truly special cat and my best buddy in the world. I'm not sure how I'll hold together without her. It is good I have my other babies to think of and who are trying to cheer me up.
I've had mixed feelings about posting things about Moppet's illness and passing. I'm a bit of a wuss myself, if I read anything about the "rainbow bridge" or hear stories about bad things happening to cats I tend to loose it. I don't want to just make people sad or frightened about FIP, I'd like everyone and their kitties to get something helpful out of all this, if possible.
Here is a good article on FIP which seems to be consistent with what my vet and my friend who has battled FIP with her rescued kitties many times says.
There isn't much you can do about it and no good vaccine currently, just a possibly dangerous vaccine. Keeping kitties indoors when that is an option may help, but as this is a common virus you may track it in on your shoes or something, so there is no sure way to protect your kitty. But maybe some knowledge on the topic can be helpful to someone somewhere, if only to ease a dying kittie's pain or to prevent an unscrupulous vet from conning you into treatments that will just prolong your cat's suffering and drain your bank account.
I'm not going to get really gory here as I don't think that will help anyone, but here is a brief summery of what I observed with Moppet before I knew she was sick and what followed.
Moppet's first symptom was loss of appetite, which I attributed to a new food. Next was a change in behavior, she stopped coming when called and would lay around more than usual. Quite subtle.
Right before I left town for the night I noticed she was laying on a wet lawn chair and didn't seem to notice it was wet. Unfortunately I didn't think it was that odd since it was sunny and warm and the water may not have been cold and Moppet rather liked water and would stand in it often while drinking from the bathtub spigot. I just held her to the side, tipped the water off the chair, offered her another drier chair and left.
I didn't come back until the following night. She seemed about the same when I came back. Then on Monday she didn't come when called again and her eyes looked more watery. Her back seemed very boney. I set an appointment for the vet. About 2 hours before her appointment the bloating developed. By the time she got to the vet she looked like a textbook wet FIP case. The vet drew a sample of the fluid in her abdomen, examined it and measured the protein in it. He said it looked like FIP, although already I strongly suspected FIP at that point, having read about the bloating.
I got her steroid pills as steroid shots had helped her mouth pain, and set her up in the bathroom with a heating pad. The steroid pill did take down the bloating, which I like to think made her more comfortable, so I recommend it if you are ever in this unfortunate situation. She would not eat at this point, but was drinking quite a lot. She was disoriented and confused and her coordination and strength started to go. It was all rapidly downhill from there. No need for the details. It may not go so fast for other cats.
So I can only hope that knowing all this may help someone else recognise a sick cat faster and not leave them alone like I did. True, it wouldn't have saved her had I known sooner. But I would have liked to have been there for her before she got so sick, maybe even just for me. It all happened so fast I'm in a state of shock and really haven't accepted the loss at all.
If you'd like to make any remembrances to Moppet or if you have some extra dough laying around (yeah, right! It is seldom extra!) I suggest a donation to your local no-kill cat shelter or to any organization that funds spay and neuter for pets who wouldn't be fixed otherwise.
If not, just give your kitties hugs and kisses and treats in memory of Moppet and all those who can't enjoy such things anymore.
Take care, all, and thanks again.
In a few hours my beautiful little girl will have been dead one year. It doesn't seem like so long ago, the horror still feels fresh.
It has been a pretty miserable year in general, and the economic collapse hasn't much helped. I miss Moppet's sweet, loving comfort every time I think about her. She was my medicine cat, and always helped me tolerate the otherwise intolerable. My other cats are great, but she was so bizarrely fixated on me, on my mood, on making sure I always felt needed. I got spoiled by her attentiveness and empathy. She was such a sensitive and loving girl. I can't stand to think about her much, still. So many memories and regrets. I'll try to post some more pictures of her today, though I'll probably try to stay busy and out of the house as much as I can.
A darling little boy kitty named Charlie was just taken by FIP. Please send his family your condolences. http://www.catster.com/cats/957189
It is especially bad because he had a brother, Merlin who loved him very much and will be an only kitty now. Such a dreadful disease. Rest in peace, poor baby Charlie.