Last Christmas Eve Joseph Henry came into the house with two kittens, the best Christmas presents ever. Franny and Zooey stole our hearts in an instant. They brought laughter and joy into our home in a year when those things were hard to come by. Although we have almost always had at least one cat, it had been decades since we had kittens (our cats tend to show up at our house fully grown). Joe says he has never heard me laugh so much as I have watching these two furballs play.
Then in June Franny got sick and was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis, a mutant form of the feline coronavirus. There is no treatment; it is 100 percent fatal. Franny had maybe a week to live. She had no appetite, no energy. Her walking was off balance, her fur was dull. She weighed only 3.4 pounds.
I came home and googled FIP and became more and more depressed. Then I googled “FIP treatment,” expecting nothing. Instead I hit the jackpot. There is a treatment with a high cure rate. There was only one problem. It has not been approved by the FDA. That means vets can not prescribe or administer it, and it can not legally be purchased. It is only available on the black market. It took us about two minutes to decide that didn’t matter.
An article in The Atlantic magazine described the “underground” network of FIP Warriors, people all over the world whose cats have had FIP, who now help others get access to the treatment. I figured out how to make contact and was put in touch with someone locally who would be our administrator/advisor. By that evening we were on our way to meet our “dealer” to get our first vials of the black market drug. It is a brutal regimen. We had to give Franny an injection every evening for 84 days. I held her and Joe injected. Franny cussed like a sailor. It was painful for her and torture for all three of us. (And for Zooey, who was banished to solitary confinement every evening while Franny got her shot.)
But soon Franny started eating. After a few days we woke up at 2 a.m. to a lovely noise — Franny running around downstairs, playing with a ball. It was the first time she had played for weeks. Her monthly blood work showed steady improvement. At the end of that long 84 days our advisor cleared her to enter observation, another 84 day period of basically watching her all the time for any sign of relapse.
Last week, six months after this arduous journey began, her final blood work came back. No relapses. She is cured!!!
Members of the FIP network around the world have given us encouragement and advice. Our vet calls her the miracle cat. Her weight has tripled. She has reasserted herself as the alpha cat. We used to call her the Love Bug, but that name doesn’t fit anymore. She is now Franny the Warrior.
Thanks be to God!
And happy Thanksgiving to you all.