Skip to content

Athena: Almost One Year

Posted in Cat

This post is a continuation of my series on Athena — her diagnosis, treatment, integration into the household, and life after FIP. If you haven’t already, I suggest taking a look at my previous posts on her. You can find them on her tag page.

We’re just over one years since Athena’s health saga started, and just shy of one year since her diagnostics. This time last year we were desperately trying to get her to eat and gain some weight. I’m planning a post for the one-year anniversary of her diagnosis — Christmas Eve — looking back on everything that has happened this past year.

There are a few medical terms in this post. I tried to link to easy to understand information, where possible. When I had to use medical terms for which I couldn’t find an easy plain language equivalent, I provided explanations through [def] (definition) links.


This following section is pulled directly from my last post, as I have a bit of an update.

It took a few days to hear back about Athena’s results. The vet was fairly happy, content to wait and see if the abnormal values will work themselves out, especially since she’s doing so well otherwise.

Unfortunately, her neutrophils [def] have dropped again, and her MCV [def] and reticulocyte hemoglobin [def], are both low, which indicate anemia. We’ve got a question out to her FIP caseworkers to see if anemia post-FIP is normal. Once we have an answer, we’ll decide what to do next.

Her sodium [def] and chloride [def] are both just barely low, and they might be related to the anemia. My guess is that Athena will end up getting an iron shot, but we’ll see.

Since Athena is, generally, doing so well, I’m going to do my best to remember that vets treat patients, not numbers.

I’ve also updated her FIP Bloodwork Google Sheets file, which includes all of the blood work values that could be related to FIP and her blood work history dashboard.

Her next appointment is on November 28, so my next post about her should be a few days after that. We keep shelling out the money for her, but it’s worth it.

New Content

Since our vet is so busy, and we had an appointment for Ritz and Dante on October 17, I held my anemia questions until then. According to the vet, blood cell levels are monitored in pairs, where if only one is abnormal, it’s treated as something to watch. If both are abnormal, then it’s something to investigate and potentially be concerned about. The pairs are:

  • Reticulocyte Hemoglobin and Hematocrit
  • Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)
  • Neutrophils and white blood count

So, we’ll continue keeping an eye on her levels, and I’ll keep trying not to over-worry.


Also in October, we went on vacation, boarding Athena for 10 days. We didn’t want her to have to deal with the younger boys harassing her while we were gone. And we didn’t want to deal with her turning the whole house into her litter box.

We thought she’d be OK without her allergy medicine for such a short time, but we were wrong. She came home with two patches. One was small and fairly inconsequential near her front-right armpit. The other was rather large on her back. She’d clearly been overgrooming and had irritated it.

Athena sleeping in her orange slice donut of shame.
She was not best pleased to be back in her donut.

Per usual, I applied the “miracle foam,” DouxoS3 SEB, twice a day. By the third night, I was able to start removing the flaky “scabbing” with the flea comb. It took a few days to remove all of it as Athena was loath to let me work on the area for any length of time. We decided to leave her donut on until the hair had grown back enough that she couldn’t easily irritate the skin again. And, by the weekend after we came home, I was able to give her a bath to further help with her skin issues.


Athena and the younger boys continue to have issues. It’s a combination of Athena reacting dramatically to any attention from them (even just looking at her) and the boys trying to insist she play with them. We’re considering seeing a cat behavioral specialist, and have a couple of recommendations if that’s the route we decide to take.

Athena’s every-three-weeks bath included her first time getting blow-dried. It’s getting too chilly to let her air dry. While she didn’t like it, she also didn’t react as poorly as I’d feared. By keeping the dryer on low, I was able to get her about 3/4 dry. She would not let me dry her belly or private areas.

Perhaps because it’s colder, she’s been demanding more cuddles, especially from Jim, and it’s adorable.

But, when Jim isn’t available, I’m an acceptable substitute.

She had another eye infection — it seems like they’re going to be quarterly. I first noticed some eye gunk in her right eye on the 17th, and by the 18th it was no longer white. So, I started the Erythromycin ointment that evening. It cleared up signs of an eye infection pretty quick, although her eyes got a bit dry. I think that may be because we’ve run out of the drops she usually gets with the ointment.

Her standard check-up was the 28th. I made sure she got the eye tests this time, both the tonometry and Schirmer Tear Test to be 100% certain her eye infection was nothing serious. Thankfully, the vet is pretty sure we just didn’t completely eliminate the eye infection. Athena’s intraocular pressure was within the normal range for both eyes. Her tear production was a little low on the left, and very low on the right.

I got a refill for both the gel and eyedrops, so we’re restocked on those for a while. And Athena has a follow-up appointment for the 7th to make sure she’s doing well.

I may have to reduce the time between Athena’s baths as we get further into winter and drier air. She gave herself a large over-grooming spot the evening after seeing the vet. I’m making sure she gets the magic foam twice a day, and, once it’s healed enough, I’ll work on removing the flaky scabbing. If anyone has suggestions for easing cat skin issues (specifically dry, itchy skin), please let me know in the comments.

November Results

Athena’s numbers are good enough to graduate her to quarterly checkups. Our little warrior just keeps living her best life. She only has four values outside of normal range:

  • Her reticulocyte hemoglobin is still low, but at the exact same value (14.5) as in September. Because her hematocrit levels are right in the middle of the normal range, the vet isn’t concerned.
  • Her neutrophils are down to 1.152 from 2.226 in September. We were advised to ask the FIP group if there’s any known issue. Athena’s neutrophils have been somewhat unstable since we started monitoring them, and her white blood count is OK, so as long as she isn’t showing any signs of issues, we won’t worry.
  • Her automated platelet count was slightly low (129, 26 under the low normal value), but according to the manual review “Platelets appear adequate; however, due to the presence of platelet clumps, the actual count cannot be accurately determined.” This isn’t a problem, it just happens sometimes.
  • Her potassium levels are still at 3.6 (0.1 under the low normal value), but I’m happy her chloride levels are back up.
Test5 Mo PC 11/283 Mo PC 9/291 Mo PC 7/28O Wk 12 6/30O Wk 8 6/2O Wk 4 5/2T Wk 15 4/4T Wk 11 3/6T Wk 8 2/13T Wk 4 1/26Ref. rangeUnit
Hematocrit39.935.638.737. – 52.7percent
Neutrophils1.1522.2264.0341.7392.1922.4953.2953.6182.2444.5602.62 – 15.17thousands per cubic milliliter
Bilirubin0.10.10.1< – 0.3milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
Total Protein8. – 8.8grams per deciliter (g/dL)
Albumin3.2333. – 3.9g/dL
Globulin5. – 5.9g/dL
A/G ratio0. – 1.2
ALT3642323830352425262827 – 158international units per liter
T: Treatment; O: Observation; PC: Post Cured

As always, I’ve also updated her FIP Bloodwork Google Sheets file, which includes all of the blood work values that could be related to FIP and her blood work history dashboard.

I’m scheduling Athena’s next appointment during her follow-up on the 7th, so I don’t have a definite date to give you yet. But, I’ll aim for around 3 months from now, so my next post on her will be around the beginning of March.

And so, I leave you with some more photos showcasing our girl’s personality.

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you found this update on Athena informative. If you’d like to keep up with her progress, be sure to subscribe to my blog, check her tag page, or follow the AthenaUpdate hashtag on Instagram.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *