Tips & Bandit came to us in early November 2006 from Sara Lane of the ACS in Mallow. Sara had rescued them from Cork at the age of 2 to 3 weeks and their sibling had died the first night – these two were very lucky to survive and Sara nursed them back to health before sending them down to us to stay until they were old enough for their jabs. They were about 5 weeks old and skinny as anything – still a ways to go to full health.
Neither were very well off, health-wise – both got cat flu and couldn’t seem to shift it and Bandit had an umbilical hernia (which could have been easily fixed when she was neutered) and some weakness in her hind legs. As with all the strays that pass thru our doors, we tended to them and loved them and they began to develop into healthy kittens.
They ate like horses – Tips in particular had a particularly charming way of pointing out her food bowl was empty – no miaowing or hassling, just quietly sitting by her empty bowl and gazing sadly at whoever passed by. Didn’t take her long to get one of us to fill it up!
Bandit got on well with all the living things she came across – she curled up beside adult cats, kittens and humans and was the most adorable friend. Tips took longer to take to others, hissing at other cats initially and took a few weeks to grudgingly accept affection from the others. Now, in March 2007, she’s the only kitten in the household and is fiercely affectionate, missing her other kitten companions.
February 2007 was horrific as Bandit’s weak back legs got worse, other symptoms developed and she was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a ghastly, fatal virus affecting cats. While many cats contract FIP only a very few go on to develop the fatal version of the virus, most throwing it off. Kittens and old cats (over 14 years) are most at risk. I’ve never come across it before and it’s ghastly. Bandit was particularly vulnerable because she also had FIV (check this link to find out more about FIV).
We did all we could for Bandit, as did Tom Farrington, Alternative Animal Care, our vet. But there’s no cure and she was becoming distressed so euthanasia was our only option. We’ve never had to euthanase a kitten before. It was a horrible decision to make. And it was horrible seeing her so ill and be unable to do anything about it.
The only consolation is that she would not have survived in the first place if Sara hadn’t rescued her and that she was cared for and much loved during her short life.
We were left mourning Bandit and were very worried about the other kittens and cats – enough time has passed now for us to be sure the others are okay and can only assume it’s the FIV that made Bandit so vulnerable.
FIP is a difficult disease to diagnose and to treat. Testing for this disease is not very accurate and the clinical signs are easily confused with a number of other diseases. The disease does not appear to affect all cats exposed to it in the same way. The only certain diagnoses are made at the time of a necropsy exam (autopsy). This makes FIP one of the most frustrating diseases for veterinarians and their clients.
You can find more info at the following websites: