A very different year and reality


To those of you who visit regularly I am sorry for the quiet and for the absence.

January was nerve wracking after the outbreak of the deadly parvo virus. There has been many visits to the vet. As you can imagine - the slightest sniffle or not eating on cue has been a cause of concern and four more cats went in for some days for observation. One cat had the virus but miraculously survived.

During all this time I of course felt very concerned about the cats placed in isolation. They have been very frustrated but eventually all had their first vaccinations three weeks ago. Eventually things went fine but then after about a week Noona's  appetite diminished. She started loosing weight and eventually started having breathing difficulties. Last week she had blood tests and an xray to determine what what going on. The results left me stunned. She had a build up of fluid around her lungs which turned out to be FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) a fatal incurable and contagious disease - transmitted through cat-to-cat contact and exposure to feces. Well, go figure if my heart just sank deeply beneath the earth upon this information. FIP is developed via feline coronavirus and cats that have been initially exposed to the feline coronavirus usually show no obvious symptoms! From the information I've gathered I have learned though that only a small percentage of cats that are exposed to the feline coronavirus develop FIP and that this can occur weeks, months, or even years after initial exposure. There is no incubation period, which naturally leaves me even more on edge.

It's difficult to determine whether any of the other cats in isolation will have contracted the virus. If their immune is strong they are more likely to have resisted the exposure. They all just had their first vaccinations when this broke out so I don't know yet if this will have weakened them further. One had a mild cold just before the vaccination (vet thought it safest to go ahead anyway due to the parvo scare) and three others have had eye infections. Noona have obviously always been a carrier of the coronavirus and it is only (ironically) because she had the vacciantion she developed FIP. It simply tipped her immune system. On the one side sad and frustrating but on the other I would never have known about the coronavirus had she not become sick.

As for Noona she has spent 6 days at the vet but was brought home today to give her the best life quality possible for her remaining time. The vet believes this can be days or maybe a few weeks. She is back in the room where she initially started her rescue and healing. She has responded in a very happy manner to being brought back home... endless purring and thankful rolling on the floor. Now we will do all we can to give her the best time possible.

I feel saddened that a deadly virus has yet again struck. On top - sometimes fate can seem to have a strange twist of irony. The vet has only seen an outbreak of FIP 4-5 times over the last 10 years!  As I believe I've said before, I do believe things happen for a reason but it's difficult to resist the question: Why here? Why among my cats? I continue though to muster all my courage and strength although I must say that it genuinely has been a bit worn recently.

This image of Noona is from a beautiful day in early December - my last images of Lilly was taken the same day. 



Crafting Queen said…
What sad news.Will keep you all in my prayers. Hugs ANesha
Deb said…
Sometimes it is so hard to muster the courage you need to give your time and life to helping cats. There are just so many terrible diseases and problems that they can contact. I am so sorry to hear of FIP in your group of cats. How heart-breaking for you. I have only seen it once in one of our rescues many years ago. I pray that the rest of the cats will be spared this disease. Hugs, Deb
Madame said…
Åh Joan, det gør mig så ondt at læse. Jeg ved, hvor hårdt det må være for dig. Her har Sofus været syg og apatisk i 5 dage, men i dag er han helt mirakuløst blevet sig selv igen. Jeg troede vi mistede ham. Tanker og varme klem til dig!
Sandra said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra said…
I know what you are going through, Joan. We had to put to sleep one of our cats because of FIP just 2 weeks ago. He was always more reserved, always waited for the other to finish eating, we never saw him play... In the last weeks we isolated him and we had to force feed him, hoping, he would regain strength, but the day he didn't have the force to use the litter box anymore, we decided it was time. Or maybe we should have done it before, but we just couldn't find it in our hearts to say goodbye. He was not even one year old. Three of us volunteers took him to the vet and we stayed with him till the end. We all kissed him goodbye and I asked him to forgive us that we didn't find him a home he would call his own. I thought making the decision was hard... living with it is much harder. But as you know, there is no hope with FIP: you can only give Noona all of your love and lots to TLC. A vet once told us: every cat that ends in your care, has been given another chance at life. And that is a lot. It's all we can do: rescue them, help them, love them with all of our hearts, no matter how it might hurt one day. I've been thinking a lot about you and I hope you can find the force needed .... we just can't give up. Hugs
Dear Joan,
I agree with Sandra. So sad it might be, you have done a great work for all your cats. Each one, which is going home leaves an empty space in your heart and your house. But there are so many more cats, who need your care and will happily fill the loss. So many children die in the world and they are all going home to Him. And so do those cats. Nothing will bother or scare them there anymore. So don't be desperate, just accept, what happen. You did all you could. Some things are not in our power.
Hugs and greetings,
Cat said…
FIP usually effects cats under one year or over ten years. We adopted a kitten who developed FIP and sadly died before his first birthday. My vet says that most cats are exposed to the corona virus which is fairly harmless but it is not known why sometimes it mutates into FIP. I understand this is so very difficult. There is no exact timing to follow, but Noona will tell you when it is time for her go, with our Max it was ten days from diagnosis to death.
Such sad news, and so unfair.

Here in New Zealand I'm thinking of you, Noona and all your cats. Say hello to them from me, and tell them that you are all cared about from afar.
I am so sorry Joan, what a tragedy, it really must take it's toll on you- and after all the sadness you have already been through ! Noona looks beautiful and very similar to Gibson, my much loved cat that we had to put to sleep as he contracted kidney failure when he was 16, this was last year.All you can do is do your best, and love them and care for them.You make such a big , big difference to their lives,with all the care and love you give them, always remember that, whatever happens!
I give you a big bear hug, you may need it .
Anna E said…
Dear Joan
It leaves me kind of numb to read your words, like my own source of words has "dried out"...seems so sad and unfair and with no known reason at all. However, I´m glad you told us all about it, so we can send thoughts of support and strength your way. And it sounds like (from the comments) that it is not that unusual an illness after all. Please don´t blame yourself for making the decisions you did (the vaccination of Noona etc.)You did it from true love, concern and care, and had no way of knowing what the result could be. Seems part of your house is now a "hospice" for Noona, and I hope you´ll have rich days of nearness with her, letting her know how dearly she is loved. There could be no better way for her to leave (when the time comes)than in this kind of ecology. Am so pleased she is home, and not being away (at the vet´s) like Lilly. At least you have the circumstance now to care for her in her remaining time - hopefully a long time...!
Dearest thoughts from Anna E
Dearest Joan,

You last sentence about the picture taken from Noona on the same day you took Lilly's picture... did hit me hard. Was that a fore bearer of the same fate?
What can you do more than love this little girl. Life for them was too short but the reality is that had YOU not taken care of them they long would have perished. Now they got to know a loving person, a clean fur coat, a safe place to sleep and being sheltered, enough and healthy food with medical care. LOVE in all forms does hurt at one time or another. When things are all well it feels good but letting go of yet another being we love so deeply stings our soul.
Love to you and be strong.

Daisy said…
I am very sorry to learn the sad news about sweet Noona.
highheeledlife said…
Joan... know the care and love you have given these little furbabies is priceless. I'm praying that as long as Noona is not suffering that she continues to beat the odds and continues on for many more weeks ....xo HHL
Dear Joan
I am so sorry to hear all of this sad news.
I had hoped that things were slowly returning to normal for you and all of those beautiful kitties.

I will be praying for your dear sweet Noona.
She is here.
She mattered.
and she is loved.

K. said…
Dear Joan: I can only say that with time maybe you can understand why God allows these things happen. Congratulations on everything you do for these kittens, our brothers on the way. I send you a loving hug, and a lot of strength to you to continue caring for the other kittens.
E. Smith said…
God bless you for offering these lovely creatures a safe place.
Dear Joan, people say to me over and over again that they don't know how I take in the senior dogs and let them go after such a short time. I now find myself asking you the same question. I can only think that the answer to my question to you is found in your heart that is so filled with compassion. And in borrowing the words from a Irving Townsend quote that I'll paste below, as difficult as it is to live within the 'fragile circle' I would live no other way.

I am keeping you in my prayers for peace, comfort and strength for you and all those in your care.

“We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan.”
I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Noona. No matter what happens, she knows she is loved with a safe and secure home. She will have you to help her when times get bad. You have saved her from a short painful and lonely life.
Julia Williams said…
Sending you purrs and prayers. I too believe everything happens for a reason but sometimes, try as we might we just don't understand what that reason is. It is sad news about Noona, and yet I am thankful that for however much time she has here, she knew love.
Marg said…
Oh Joan, I am so sorry all that is happening to your kitties and to you. That is so weird that the vaccination triggered some other things. We sure are sending tons of purrs and prayers. Do not give up. They all need you and all you can do is the best to your ability. I am really sad about Noona. Take care Joan and keep all that great work you are doing. You just have to keep believing in miracles. Maybe they will all get better and you will have a super Spring. Take care.
Old Kitty said…
Sweet lovely Noona! Oh dear! We are so sorry to hear that this virus refuses to go away! :-( We hope hope hope that somehow the kitties build immunity towards it, we can only keep hoping and keep positive! We are so glad you are there to give Noona so much love and care. She's in the best place possible. Take care
Sandra said…
Yes Joan, so painful at times but always worth it to see them shine. Thank you for you kind words.

Mika is the youngest of my cats.
Romeo said…
I have just come over to read your blog for the first time. I am humbled by your kindness. By your generosity. By your love. And I thank you for doing what so many others would not do. Sincerely thank you.

I am so sorry to read about Charlie and Lilly - such precious souls. How lucky there were to know your love and kindness.

But now this horrible disease FIP. Many years ago I had to say goodbye to Sir Petey who developed complications and no longer had full lung capacity. We feared it was FIP. Luckily, it was FIV. We too were told how rare it was - thankfully. And yet here it is with one of yours. I am so incredibly sorry. My heart goes out to you. Love will not heal this, but Noona knows love and that is without a doubt the very best thing you could ever give her. Ever.

Thank you again.

"Her" and Romeo (who is a rescue, as are all his brothers and sisters)
Dearest Joan, I am thinking often of you and your loved ones ( your cats that is ) and I would like to send you all my love to all of you and hope and pray you will soon be blessed with better times.Take heart and know yourself to be much adored by your companions, be they feline or not, and whether they stay long or not so long with you.... to be loved is the main thing, and to love back.Have a wonderful and blessed Valentine's day.XOXO Bea
Reena said…
Oh I am so sad about this news and this awful disease. Noona has been so lucky to have you come into her life and give her these few months she has had. You are indeed an angel!
Barbara said…
I'm so sorry to hear this, Joan. I know Noona is so special to you, as all your cats are, and I can only imagine how disheartening this must feel to your efforts. But you truly are an angel to them, giving them the love and comfort and a longer life that they'd never know otherwise.

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