I’m Jim, and my wife and I are raising money for our little cat goddess, Athena, who is gravely ill.
In October, we noticed she had an eye infection. This wasn’t anything particularly new; she’d had them before and they cleared up without medication. But this time, it wasn’t going away.
We took her to the vet and got drops and ointment, but something didn’t seem quite right. In a checkup, the vet discovered she was running a fever. That was also unusual.
Determined to get to the bottom of things, our local vet kept her over Thanksgiving and ran a range of tests, including an abdominal ultrasound. None of these tests were conclusive and exhausted the tools that they have. They suggested we take her to a specialist at the animal hospital for a more exhaustive examination.
That was the plan, anyway. We even made the appointment! Then, the weekend before her appointment, she was having difficulty walking. We didn’t waste time. We took her to the animal hospital in our area (also an emergency facility). She stayed there overnight for an examination and IV fluids.
She had more blood drawn, and a fine needle aspiration where they took two liver samples and a lymph node sample. The first round of tests ruled out cancer and a host of bacterial infections. Unfortunately, the second round of results came back positive for FIP.
FIP is a feline coronavirus that has mutated from a form that most cats get and recover from quickly, into a fatal disease. There is no treatment available for it in the USA, but there is one out there. It's 90% effective, but the FDA has yet to approve it.
To put it simply, without the medicine, she'll die, but there's hope.
A network of private individuals has sprung up over time, and their mission is to get the meds that FIP-positive cats need to recover and make them available to cat parents. There’s one problem, the drug is expensive. This isn’t because of the network, but the manufacturers.
There’s a second problem: the treatment takes 84 days, and the dosage gets larger as the cat's health improves. It is not uncommon for a full course of medicine and vet visits to reach $10,000. (As of 2/27, we're about to break $12k on her treatment.)
Rachel and I are determined to help our fur baby. Money will not stand in our way to give her the best treatment we can. Athena is ours, and we are hers. She deserves a full life, and we are going to do our utmost to see that she gets that chance.
We would like to ask for your help. We have already bitten into our savings getting the diagnosis and keeping her stable. To follow through on the full course of treatment would bite deeper, painfully so.
Let me be transparent: she will get the treatment. We have the money to make this happen and will use it, but it has started to take a toll. We’ve already begun the process. What we would like is help to soften the financial blow and shorten the time it will take us to get back to where we were before she got sick.
It’s hard to ask for a concrete sum because we don't know what the final total will be. However, if we raise more money than we need, the remaining funds will be split 50/50 between Sock FIP, and King Street Cats.
Sock FIP supports FIP research at UC Davis, and that work may pave the way for this medication to be available domestically.
King Street Cats is a local no-kill shelter that specializes in cats that may get overlooked for adoption. Our cat, Bumbledore, came from King Street Cats and is a perfect example of the lives they save. This is an entire story all by itself, and I will gladly tell it to anyone, but this is about Athena’s story and how we will make it continue.
Thank you for your help. We will keep you updated on her progress, because you are a part of her story now, too.
2/27 update: the virus has had a resurgence. We now have to add pills to her treatment for an indeterminate amount of time, but 20 days at the least based on when her last shot was scheduled to be. The pills cost $46 a day. That is more than 2x the cost of the injections.
I'd thought we wouldn't break $10k, and then I didn't think we'd break $11k, but we're going to break $12k. This is an unexpected stress on our finances, but we're determined to get our girl healthy.
(As of 2/1 we've broken $10k on her care.)
Ft. Washington, MD