Zero came down with an illness that we really began noticing Saturday night. The little guy was breathing heavily and rapidly. He hadn't moved over a period of 2 hours and my concern shot through the roof.
We took him to a vet that was open (our usual was closed already) and he was given a vague diagnosis of pneumonia. The vet administered 2 shots, one anti-biotic and one for his seriously high fever.
Zero seemed to stabilize a little but continued to breathe deeply and it seemed to be a struggle.
I laid with him all day on Sunday petting him and watching his breathing. He would look at me with his one eye as if he was saying "thank-you" and then lick my fingers. We were really bonding though out this but I was sure he was on the up and up. I suffered from pneumonia myself about 2 years ago and remember how every part of me hurt and how difficult it was to breathe. Also that it took a very long time, into 2 months, for me to recover my strength.
I felt like I knew what he was going through and was trying to make everything as comfortable as possible. Zero was given our bedroom and our bed to call his own. I had filled and turned on the humidifier to give his lungs the moisture to cough up the fluid blocking them.
Zero was given special, yummy wet food. Basically, whatever the little guy wants.
Well, that hasn't changed.
But his prognosis has. Monday afternoon I decided to take him to our regular vet who took care of him when he was a little mouse sized, zero eyed runt. I explained what happened late Saturday night and asked if we should do an X-ray to see if he is getting better. My husband was talking with the vet in Korean and I began to hear less of the word pneumonia and more of FIP.
My heart began to sink as they were talking. Once the X-ray was processed and shown to us we could see the scope of his illness. His entire chest cavity was filled with fluid.
This fluid would have to be removed and tested for bacteria before we would know anything. If bacteria was present, maybe it could be pneumonia. If not, it looked like FIP.
I knew the outcome of FIP wasn't going to be a happy one, if that is what it is.
Here is the exact fluid that was removed from his chest. I found the color to be shocking.
After removing the fluid and testing, no bacteria was found. Therefore, we are looking at a lot of signs that point to FIP. Since there is no definitive test for FIP a vet must look at a multitude of aspects in order to best determine that a cat has contracted FIP. The vet will look at the protein levels and also if there are high levels of globulin's in the blood, along with symptoms the vet will make the best diagnosis possible.
Here is some information I found on FIP (by the way the kitty at the top of the page is how I see Zero. Maybe not how he looks, but how he looks in my eyes). I have read many, many articles now about this disease and I find that by reading a variety of articles I get the best picture of what this disease is and how to react.
My vet said not to worry about the other cats. That they were not in harms way but regardless my husband was worried. This article from Path With Paws is the best article that I have found explaining that FIP is not contagious and why.
For today that is where I am going to leave this blog.
I am going to write everyday for the rest of Zero's life for a few reasons...
First, to chronicle his amazing, miraculous life! He has truly met and jumped over hurdles that most kittens haven't or couldn't.
Second, because writing about this will help me come to terms with what lies ahead.
Third, because when I try and talk about it I generally am brought to tears, so I need an outlet that doesn't involve embarrassing waterworks. (How many 33 year old women openly weep over kittens? I don't know the exact number, but I'll start here with 1!)
Fourth, because maybe this information will help someone else deal with a similar prognosis they may be facing. (I hope that's not why you are reading this right now, but if it is, let's get through this together)
Zero is at home and feeling much better.
I had him cuddling with me all night last night and heard him purr for the first time in days. It was, in fact, the most purring I have ever heard come from him! Ever! I think he is becoming more of a lover through this illness.
I'm happy that for now he is a very happy kitty. That is something that I can find happiness in.
Keep Zero in your thoughts and kitty prayers.
Paws crossed we have him for a bit longer!
My favorite picture of him when he had his cute and short lived streaks of gray hair after he made it past the mark where we thought he wouldn't make it.