It’s always hard to lose a furry loved one. But some losses are harder than others and tend to haunt one forever. I think poor little Marlee may be one of those, even thought she was only with us for a week.
Marlee came to us as a four-month old kitten. She was deemed unadoptable because she appeared to be deaf and had a heart murmur. Upon intake, we noted that she was somewhat dehydrated and unkempt. She also seemed a little frantic, but we wrote that off to kittenhood. She ate well for us and we hoped that her heart murmur would “disappear” (which often happens with kittens) and that she be adopted. Deafness is not particularly debilitating to a cat.
Marlee received a thorough vet exam two days after she arrived. Our vet noted the heart murmur and the deafness, but also determined that Marlee’s eyes “worked” but that she was blind. This meant that there was a neurological problem. In addition, blood work showed that Marlee’s kidneys were failing.
Kidney problems are rare in young cats and in combination with the neurological symptoms led our vet to worry that Marlee had FIP. Feline Infectious Peritinotis is a disease whose very name strikes fear into the hearts of vets. FIP is a non-complex, frustrating disease about which too little is known. It is 100% fatal , but very hard to diagnose and can mimic many other diseases. I won’t go into detail here, but will post about it in a future blog.
We submitted some other blood tests that can be useful in diagnosing FIP (as well as some rare diseases that coul dexplain her symptoms) and started Marlee on supportive care. Our vet was not hopeful that Marlee would be with us for long. Danielle, our Sanctuary Operations Manager, took Marlee home at night so that she wouldn’t have to spend her last days alone in a cage.
All of the blood wortk came back negative, but Marlee continued to decline over the next few days. She stopped eating, her kidney values got worse and she became withdrawn. We realized it was time to let her go. She went gently, surrounded by the many people who had loved her.
I’m not really sure why his loss was so hard. We’ve lost kittens before and we’ve lost cats without having a diagnosis. But I keep seeing little Marlee’s face and I still have that feeling in my gut … that sharp longing to see her get through this and get to have a life.
Rest in peace, sweetheart.