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The Reality of FIP

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

When you google “FIP” the first page that comes up is from Cornell University, who’s mission statement is as follows: “We are dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and implementation of scientific knowledge to improve the health and well-being of animals and people.“

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) caused by feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a common disease in cats, fatal if untreated, and no effective treatment is currently legally available.

This is a great place for any and all scientific information you’d ever need to know about FIP.

Within the past few weeks at Mabel’s, we have had several cats test positive / show symptoms of multiple variants of FIP - Wet, Dry, Ocular, and Neurological. We wanted to take this time to discuss our experience with FIP and spread awareness.

This is my baby Indies story….

Indie - Wet FIP - my personal first and only foster fail, we took Indiana Jones aka Indie into our home as a foster because he’s previous foster could no longer care for him. Upon arrival, we realized he was much larger and little older than we expected him to be, and perhaps most sad of all for such an amazing little guy - his prior foster mom hadn’t named him. As soon as we let him out of the carrier he immediately explored the entire guest bathroom where we had him quarantined. Once he completed his assessment of the area, he curled up in his foster dads lap and that was the beginning of something amazing. His foster dad immediately decided he should be named Indiana Jones for his love of exploration, and we affectionately call him Indie (or Indie Bear) for short. Over the next few months, Indie came with us to events and each time, he didn’t stray far from my side. He didn’t seem to want to make friends. We felt chosen, and the bond between Indie and his dad only grew stronger. Indiana only ever got one application, we simply couldn’t understand how our perfect little guy wasn’t garnering any interest at all. He’s high energy, playful, cuddly, and has a beautiful soft coat. After only a short time in our care, we decided Indie belonged with us. He had really bonded with his dad, and dad felt so special because he hadn’t been able to bond with any other cats since his childhood family pet. After a few months, we noticed Indie slowed down and started gaining weight. He’s always been a very thin cat, so it took awhile for us to realize how much weight he had truly gained. He started sleeping all the time, he just wasn’t himself. I had heard the term FIP but didn’t really know what it was or what to look for. I discussed it with our board, and we all agreed maybe he was just growing out of his kitten phase and since he was slowing down he was gaining some weight - no big deal.

Fast forward another week or so to my sister coming to stay with us and making a joke that Indie can’t be a boy because he looks pregnant. A few days later she returned and she said somehow he looked even bigger. This caused me to go into panic mode because I see him daily and don’t notice small changes, but in a matter of a few days she saw a change enough to say something. Immediately the rescue jumped into action: Indie was seen by a vet, tests run, and had blood work done within a matter of hours. We received a heartbreaking diagnosis: our baby had Wet FIP.

After telling his dad the news, there were a lot of tears and angry exclamations, a lot of guilt and sadness. How could this happen to our baby? Why didn’t we take him to the vet sooner? Could we have prevented this? We dove into anything and everything we could find about FIP. We researched, spoke with people who had experience with FIP, and joined groups to get as much insight as we could. We were gearing up for a war to save our baby, nothing was going to keep us from fighting this fight to save his life.

And through all that, it dawned on us: this is why Indie was with us. This was the reason he ended up being our foster fail, so we could save his life!

FIP is not as well known as it should be, and the signs / symptoms can be difficult to spot until it’s too late if you’re not looking closely. Had Indie been adopted out to an average family, they may not have realized anything was wrong until it was too late. Statistically speaking, his chances of survival without care of a rescue worker would have been very low, almost nonexistent. There simply aren’t enough resources available to the average family, and treatment is still VERY expensive.

Through the rescues support system, we were able to start treatment right away. Within a few days, we noticed Indies energy levels increasing again, about a week and a half later he had lost almost all of his fluid retention. At about the two week mark of treatment, Indie started playing again! He was practically back to his normal little self.

Prior to Indies diagnosis, Mabel’s had 2 FIP babies. Only a few weeks after Indies diagnosis, the number of FIP cases both within our rescue and referred to us for help was up to 9. We have quickly become the local FIP Warriors and are scrambling as quickly as we can to save these babies.

FIP used to be a death sentence, but with black market treatment it no longer is!

Mabel’s Orphaned Angels Rescue is committed to spreading awareness and saving as many lives as possible, regardless of diagnosis. We do not shy away from medical cases and always provide as much help and information as we can.

One of our goals for 2023 is to set up a fundraising campaign to aide fellow pet owners in treatment for their kitties. Please help us kick start this by donating to any of the following places below -

💙PayPal: (we're charged a 3% fee)

💜Venmo: @mabelsangels (no fees)

💚CashApp: $mabelsangels (we're charged a 3% fee)

Zelle: (no fees)

If you’d like to donate another way, please specify that it is for FIP treatment.

If you notice your cat acting or looking abnormal in any way - seek immediate medical attention. Do not wait, do not hesitate.

We appreciate everyone taking the time to read this and support us and our cause of saving lives in Southern Maryland 🖤

Our other babies stories…

Patrick & Chip - Wet FIP

Smash - Ocular FIP

Honey - Dry / Neurological FIP

To say we are overwhelmed and heartbroken right now would be an understatement. Here at Mabel’s Orphaned Angels Rescue, we have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR cats battling something big – which, up until just recently, was a deadly diagnosis for cats.

Patrick came to Mabel’s Orphaned Angels Rescue back in May when we pulled the whole euthanasia list at our local shelter. This poor boy was full of parasites, covered in ringworm, and scared as anything when he came to us. With lots of patience, TLC, and medical care, we nursed him back to health and worked with him to gain trust. We were SO excited for Patrick and his new life. But then suddenly, we noticed his belly was swollen…immediately we thought FIP. Unfortunately, our suspicions were confirmed with bloodwork. But thankfully, FIP is no longer a death sentence! Patrick was started on a lifesaving drug on 9/15 and after just 2 injections, he began eating again and coming down for cuddles! Patrick’s lifesaving treatment does come at a cost though as his estimated bill is about $2,500-$3,000 between medications, supplies, supplements, and bloodwork.

Then, only about a month later, we noticed that our other foster kitty — Chip — was losing weight, had some mild bloating, was lethargic, and generally didn’t seem like he was feeling well. Right away, we feared that he had FIP…and bloodwork confirmed this. But luckily, we had everything needed at home to get him started on treatment and lots of knowledge when it comes to FIP! Then, a few days later, another foster kitty — Smash — started showing symptoms of Ocular FIP and was declining. She has since begun treatment, but this is on top of Patrick AND Chip’s treatment.

Just as we were devastated for these three sweet babies and their recent diagnoses, a resident kitty, Honey, was diagnosed with FIP as well…This makes FOUR total in our house. This is not an expense that we ever expected to have with a personal kitty. And due to her weight and having suspected neurological/dry FIP, her treatment will cost us about $5,000. To put it lightly, we are in dire need of support during this heartbreaking time to be able to save these four innocent lives! It’s also important to understand that FIP is not “contagious” as the cat has to have the genetic trait to develop it and FIP can’t mutate without this. It is the cat’s own body that mutates and facilitates the spreading of the disease.

We desperately need donations at this time as treatment averages $2,000 - $5,000 per cat between medicine, bloodwork, supplements, etc. PLEASE share this fundraiser and donate even $1 if you can, it makes a huge difference because the bottom line is, without treatment, this IS a death sentence. We are begging. Please help us save Patrick, Chippy Boy, Smash, and Honey!! They deserve a long happy life in a forever home, cured of FIP. Thank you in advance for your love and support, you have no idea how grateful we are for each and every one of you!

I have put the fundraiser under the rescue, so it will be tax deductible.

If you’d like to donate another way, please specify that it is for FIP treatment.

💙PayPal: (we're charged a 3% fee)

💜Venmo: @mabelsangels (no fees)

💚CashApp: $mabelsangels (we're charged a 3% fee)

Zelle: (no fees)

We can’t thank you guys enough for all that you’ve done and continue to do to help us. ❤️

🌈 Samson - Wet FIP - was rescued from another local rescue and his mom reached out to us for help. We agreed and quickly started treatment, but unfortunately the disease had already progressed too much. Despite every available treatment option, Samson crossed the rainbow bridge shortly after coming to us for care.

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