This is our Baby Girl, Leica.
Leica is nearly 6 months old. We adopted her from a local rescue centre after a chance encounter at Pets at Home, where she was helping promote the work the centre do.
I’m not normally in that particular neck of the woods, but I was meeting Liz and she was running a little late, so I popped in to look at some treats for Neko, and there she was. A tiny little floof in the corner of her cage, naturally, being the cat lady I am, I had to stop and chat. I’ve seen this type of fundraising before, where the kitties are taken to meet the public to help drum up support, but there was just something about this little girl, looking scared and cold on this freezing January day. I asked if she was available for adoption. 24 hours later she was ours.
In many ways, she’s a perfectly normal kitten. She loves to play, she likes attention – a lot! She tries to keep up with her big brother Neko, but sadly she isn’t just a normal kitten.
Leica, seemed a little poorly when we first got her, she was very snotty and sneezed a lot. We took her to the vets, where she was treated for a touch of the flu. Luckily, she got better quite soon, but then the medication ran out.
One afternoon, she was booked in for her routine flea treatment and wormer with the vet. I mentioned that since she’d finished her meds, she still seemed a little bit poorly. The nurse took her temperature. It was high. Then she took her away. Shortly after, I was called in to see the Vet. I could tell it was bad. The temperature she had was high enough to kill a grown human, so how a tiny kitten was functioning with such a fever was anyone’s guess. She was given two injections there and then and we were sent home with a bag of medication.
I’ve lost count of how many visits we made to that place in the following week, it was a lot though. Each time her temperature was checked, and it very slowly came down. Not before the vet decided to run a course of blood tests though. I’ll never forget when they handed her back to me. A shaved chest, dripping with blood, it was like something out of a horror movie and it took everything in me not to burst into tears there and then. They were testing for some seriously scary sounding diseases, I don’t think I slept very much while we waited the 48 hours for the results to come back.
Luckily, the tests for FIV and Leukemia came back negative. I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief at this stage as to me, they sounded like the two most serious illnesses, however the vet advised there were more results to come back over the next few days.
Thursday afternoon. I was sitting in Subway having lunch after doing some shopping and the phone rings. Some more of her results are in, and it isn’t good. Leica had tested positive for FIP, more specifically the dry form. I’ve heard very little about this condition, except I know that Neko had an injection for it when he was tiny and we first took him in. I had no idea just how cruel this thing could be.
How could she have this? She seemed fine in herself, charging around the house with all the excitement and energy of a normal kitten. You would never know she had a temperature let alone a terminal illness. We were told, that she would start display neurological symptoms, most specifically, the use of her back legs would deteriorate and she would begin to have seizures.
I spent the next few weeks observing her and over analysing every move she made, if she sneezed I would wonder if it was a sign, if she wasn’t eating much did that mean something? The paranoia massively took over.
Then last Tuesday, it stopped being paranoia. I noticed her little legs seemed a bit wobbly and `I couldn’t brush it off any longer.
Over the last week, she has been declining fast. She can barely stand on her back legs anymore, yet she’s such a spirited little thing, she’s still trying her best to run up and down the stairs and jump on the bed. She is one determined little thing. I love her so much.
Unfortunately, we have to make a decision this Thursday. We have to go back to the vets so they can see how she is and talk about what next. There is no cure for FIP, we can only make them comfortable for the time they have with us. We saw the vet on Saturday, she knows Leica’s legs are on the decline, but luckily, she agreed that she seems in good spirits and we could keep her at home for a few more days.
I just can’t believe this happening to her. She is such a loved little cat, life can be so very cruel. Waking up to her little paws in my hair every morning has certainly made life more colourful. I will miss being woken at 3am by Neko chasing her across the bed while we’re asleep. I’ll miss her deciding the objects on my bedside table look better on the floor. I’ll miss her knocking things out of my hand because she wants my attention. She’s just wonderful.
Why have I decided to write this now? Well, because I know the sadness is already taking over, and while I sit here and type this, she is curled up peacefully on my lap, and this has given me the sense of calm needed for me to write anything semi-articulate. I want to be able to celebrate her, and I won’t be able to do that for a while after her passing, so I will write about her now, while I am still able to hold on to the joy she brings me.
I love this little one so much. I hope she knows that.
I will write a little more about FIP and the affects of it when I feel able. I just rally wanted to take the time to share these images of Leica, and tell you all about what a beautiful little soul she is. She’s awake now and watching me type. I know she can’t read, but she can definitely recognise herself in the pictures, so in that sense, maybe she does understand. Love you Baby Girl x