My journey with FIPCA began shortly before my own collision with this most nasty, insidious illness called FIP..11.19 pm I have Gru sitting on his scratch post looking quite normal.By about 2.30 the next afternoon,it was a cold day in May in Victoria, Australia & Gru like most nakids, takes to the warmth of his heat mat, nothing unusual there but an hr later there was still no greeting from him which was strange.

I brought his meat to him & walked in saying my greeting & what I received was a low pitch guttural cry rather than a meow, it was at that point, the adrenaline bomb hit me, about the same time, Gru staggered from his bed & literally collapsed in his food as I caught him going to the floor.He was mouth breathing like a dog, his gums were purple tinged & I could see the fight for his life was on. I thought he was going to die there & then.He was so cold, I put him up on the chest freezer to wrap him in a blanket & at that point, he lost control of his bowel.OMG, it is his heart I thought & he is in CCF.

I rang my vet, said who I was & that I was on my way with my critically ill sphynx.I was driving the 35 min drive at pace while trying to breathe into my boy & keep him awake as I felt if he closed his eyes, he would surely die.My vet sprang into action, warm bags of fluid, oxygen, blankets, his temp was 32.2 & he was shutting down.

I stayed with him holding the oxygen on him until we got his temp up a bit. He was so breathless.He was given a myriad of medications with very little response & was transferred to Advanced Vetcare in Melbourne.

They did scans, xrays, bloods, blood gasses, urinalysis, lots of tests.Bloods were abnormal multiple factors.outside their normal ranges.Alb globulin ratio was 0.5He stayed in an oxygen incubator & was reasonably good until they took him out- he could last about 2-3 minutes before he hadto be returned to oxygen cage.

A couple of days later & following my vet having a discussion with AVC Melbourne (shortly after he collapsed) with no response AVC asked for me to take him to Melbourne.

A small travel crate was wrapped in Gladwrap with oxygen tubing connected to an oxygen cylinder. The tubing poked through a small hole, a spare tank in the back, Gru in the travel crate, instructions on how to change the bottle if needed & to keep my eye on the rate & operation of the oxygen we set off on the 3 hr journey to Melbourne at about 11pm that night.He had scans, which revealed enlarged heart atriums, enlarged kidneys, pleural effusion that they could not aspirate, his bloodwork was abnormal right across the board, not really suggestive of FIP, but there it was hiding & causing such havoc.

I was told that euthanasia  was not an unreasonable consideration but I never saw the will to fight leave Gru’s beautiful pastel blue eyes, so I said while he fights, I will fight with him.On the Saturday after he was admitted he had another heart scan & they told me they thought he had HCM. I asked them to send his scans through to Richard Wooley as he is Gru’s cardiologists & Gru is scanned annually.

Richard advised that he did not think this was heart disease, but rather a result of something else he had going on systemically.I was at my first ever cat show where I met our President for the first time.I was so upset & Ange said to me, are you sure this is not FIP? I said I didn’t know what to think, he was scanned bit over a year prior to this episode & scanned clear.Ange said I think you should start treatment & you will know soon enough by his response.

I called AVC & requested that he be started on Remdesivir that night which they did.2 days later I went up to say my goodbyes because I knew to let him go on like he had been to me didn’t seem right. It was a teary 3 hr drive, but when they brought Gru to me, he was bright, engaged, not on oxygen any more & keen to explore this strange place.I had my answer, he came home on daily subcutaneous injections of Remdesivir for approximately 2 weeks, then went onto GS & Molnupiravir combo for another 2 weeks then finished on Molnupiravir.

His treatment was a fair amount longer than 84 days as I had to get his teeth cleaned & a secondary bacterial infection cleared up, but after that he is back to my cheeky, quirky little red head & I just adore him.It is worth noting that Gru’s heart scan which was done while Gru was still on treatment for FIP by Richard Wooley was 100% normal & his cardiologist said he could find no evidence of heart disease. It just goes to show how many major organs this virus infiltrated- Gru’s heart, his Kidneys, His Lungs & his blood. This disease in it’s dry form is good at hiding & wearing at the cat bit by bit until sometimes they fall in a heap.

Cats mask illness very well so by the time they are unwell, they are really unwell.I can’t ever thank Ange enough for prompting me to start treatment & Adele for mentoring me right through. My journey. It wasn’t the way I would have chosen to learn about FIP, but it taught me a lot & if I ever had another difficult to diagnose with multiple issues kitty, I would start treatment. FIP kitties more often than not have dull coats (Gru of course being a sphynx is nakid),they don’t always go off their food either & you don’t often see the fever associated- I never saw a fever. It can be transient.

Each case is different in some way.

A blood test along with a list of symptoms may hasten the pace for diagnosis. Sometimes there is no time to await a diagnosis. Gru was only given a provisional diagnosis, but failure to act when we did, I’m sure would have led to his death.This disease needs no invitation, it needs hitting hard & head on.

It is a privilege to work with this great team of people at FIPCA as we spread awareness about this nasty virus.

Gru was a 4 yo entire Sphynx in 2023 when FIP struck.

He is now almost 5 & is living his normal life post treatment. 

Not today FIP & Tomorrow isn’t looking too good for you either!