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Athena: Life After FIP

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This post is a continuation of my series on her treatment and integration into the household. If you haven’t already, I suggest reading my previous posts on her. You can find them on her tag page.

Let’s get the big news out of the way: we are officially considering Athena cured. *Cue applause*

Because of this, I’m changing a couple of aspects of these posts, including the frequency. Unless anything catastrophic happens, I’ll be switching to posting about Athena every other month. If I don’t have enough to share, I may increase time between posts.

Second, as we are now considering Athena cured, I’m restarting the counts to “Post Cured.” I’m not going to count days anymore, I’m just going to count months — e.g. July 3rd is 0-Day post cured, August 3rd will be 1 month post cured, and so on.

Week 28

July 2 (Day 89): Thinking I could give Athena a fun place to snort around and snuggle, I spritzed one of the crocheted beds from King Street Cats with catnip spray. While she was somewhat interested, it turned out she was just sizing it up for absorption, because she peed on it.

I really wish we could find a way to make her understand that the world is not her potty. She must use the litterbox. She doesn’t try to poo everywhere, thankfully, probably because she knows she can’t cover it. But, in her mind, the pee “disappears” because it soaks into the beds, so they make acceptable potties.

We’ve started telling her, “no,” in a firm voice and carrying her to the litterbox when we see her preparing to pee somewhere, so hopefully that will help.

Count Restart — 0-Day PC

July 3: Athena’s results seem to be stabilizing. She had two numbers outside of the normal range, her neutrophils and her reticulocyte hemoglobin. I’ve got a note to talk to the vet at Athena’s next appointment. This makes four consecutive tests where her neutrophils have gone down, and three consecutive tests where they’ve been below the normal range. While neutrophils don’t seem to be tied to FIP, I want to make sure there’s nothing else going on.

If you haven’t already seen, I updated Athena’s Schirmer Tear Test results list in the last post about her. 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 also sent Athena’s results to our caseworkers. We’ll see what, if any, response we get from them.

I’ve updated the table headers below. “T Wk” is treatment week and “O Wk” is observation week.

TestO 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
Hematocrit37. – 52.7percent
Neutrophils1.7392.1922.4953.2953.6182.2444.5602.62 – 15.17thousands per cubic milliliter
Bilirubin< – 0.3milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
Total Protein8. – 8.8grams per deciliter (g/dL)
Albumin3. – 3.9g/dL
Globulins5. – 5.9g/dL
A/G ratio0. – 1.2
ALT3830352425262827 – 158international units per liter
The IDEXX test our local vet runs has different reference values than the test SouthPaws uses (week 4 results). I’ve included the IDEXX ranges on this chart

July 4: Once again, Athena peed on the crocheted bed, so we took it away from her. It’s now in our front room for the kittenses to enjoy.

July 5: Athena was meowing, so, in attempt to figure out what she wanted, I gave her a few toys. She took a shine to a stuffed bird with a quiet rattle. She’s adorable batting it around the table legs as she plays.

July 7: We heard back from the caseworkers. While they didn’t give us an official “consider her cured,” we aren’t changing our own decision to do so. Because she’s doing so well clinically, they are leaning toward the assumption that the numbers we’re seeing are going to be her normal values going forward.

I’m still hoping that some of the borderline values will move closer to average normal, but there’s no denying Athena appears to be doing really well.

She’s decided that Bumbledore is OK, even allowing him to use her heating pad without much complaint.

July 8: I heard Athena scratching at something and found her in time to stop her from peeing on one of the under-chair hammocks we have.

July 9: Unfortunately, today I didn’t catch Athena fast enough. She peed on one of the under-chair hammocks. She wasn’t pleased when I insisted on cleaning her feet because they were wet and stinky. Because the hammocks are well stretched out from use — they touch the floor — and the cats barely use them anymore, Jim and I decided to just get rid of them. One less think for Athena to pee on.

July 11: I checked on the cats when they got their 10:30pm feeding to make sure they were all eating at the correct bowls, or at least weren’t stopping each other from eating. To my immense surprise, Athena was eating next to Dante! She despises Dante, so I’m baffled as to why she condescended to eat next to him.

July 12: Jim and I think part of the reason that Athena’s been peeing on things is that she doesn’t like going by the kittenses on her way to or from the litterboxes. They often try to ambush or chase after her, which pisses her off to no end. She’s learning, though, that if she meows at me, I’ll give her a free ride to the litterboxes. I should stop doing so, as I don’t want her to become dependent on the rides.

July 13: Athena cuddled with Jim at lunch time, and it was the cutest thing. She may like me, and accept me as “mom cat,” but Jim is her human, and it’s adorable.

July 14: Athena cuddled with Jim again today, and I managed to get both photos and videos of the adorableness. She even groomed his beard again.

Athena making a happy face while getting chin scritchies

July 15: Athena checked another item off her Indoor Cat To-Do List today. I came back to the dining room table from the bathroom to find her brazenly laying on the tablet keyboard (we have a physical keyboard attachment for it). Unlike the other kitties who will go running as soon as I notice them somewhere they shouldn’t be, she just laid there and stared at me. I had to actually pick her up to get her to move.

July 16: I discovered a rough patch on her right forearm, very similar to the patches she had before. It hasn’t truly “scabbed” over yet, though, so there’s nothing to comb out.

Athena laying down grooming her belly
Please forgive the photo quality, Athena wouldn’t hold still.

I had to capture this photo of her while she was grooming. She looked like a mega chonker, even though she’s only has a little chonk.

July 17: Athena is over grooming again. Her forearms are almost hairless. I wish we knew how to help with the problem. She also peed on her heating pad, so we washed the cover and put away the pad for a while. Let’s see if that will get her a bit more active.

July 18: Today I discovered she’s been overgrooming one of the healed injection site sores. It’s much redder than usual. It’s hit me that she’s only been seriously overgrooming again the past week or so. I stopped giving her allergy medicine a couple of weeks ago because she’d stopped sneezing, so I figured she was OK. But, I’m wondering if these skin issues could be an allergy. I’m starting her allergy medicine again, and I’ll keep an eye on her to see if she gets better. If she does, we need to figure out what she’s allergic to.

July 19: The irritated injection site sore was even redder today. I’ve started spraying it with Vetericyn to see if that will help. The catch 22, though, is that when I spray it, she licks at it after, so I’m not sure if it’s helping, hurting, or balancing out.

July 20: I discovered another rough patch, this time near her right-front armpit. I don’t know why the issues all seem to be on her right side this time. I’ll keep an eye on her. Hopefully I can get her to let me comb out the patches soon, as they seem to be starting to scab over.

On the adorable side of things, she’s sharing her box with Bumbledore who is having sinus issues again. I caught them sleeping “bunk bed” style.

Athena sitting on top of her box, and Bumbledore hiding inside of it.
It’s easy to see how patchy Athena is from her overgrooming.

July 21: I tried combing out some of her patches. Athena wasn’t particularly happy about it, but I did manage to carefully work loose some massive patches of dry skin/scabbing around her old injection site sore. The skin was not irritated under the scabbing, but the center of the old sore is definitely still reddened. There’s even one fresh scab that looks like the skin might have cracked from either dryness or too much licking. Poor Athena.

But, she’s clearly not too terribly bothered, as Jim got her to play with an old rope after dinner.

Athena playing with an old rope.
You can see a full video on Instagram through the link above.

July 22: I discovered another patch on Athena’s right side, this one near her tail. It’s not as bad as the other ones, so hopefully it will heal faster. I was able to comb out the patch near her armpit while Jim gave her head scritchies. She wasn’t happy, but I was able to get quite a bit of dry/dead skin off without irritating the area or pulling at her fur. The wet fur and flea comb method is fabulous. You just have to be patient.

July 24: Athena was very active today, exploring all over the dining room and kitchen. She hopped up onto different surfaces and ran across the railing. It’s great to see her doing more. Her legs have gotten a lot stronger since she graduated to observation back in early May.

July 25: Athena decided to be incredibly adorable today, so I had to take some videos. She sent out a digital kiss, then spent some time playing with my braid. As she gets more active, she’s definitely getting more playful, too.

July 26: I put up a rope for Athena to play with instead of my braid. It’s working well. She seems to enjoy it, although she was a bit reluctant to play with the camera on her.

July 27: We noticed Athena is missing at least one front tooth. Neither of us know when she lost it, or how. I never saw any sign of blood around her mouth or anywhere else. I’ll have to ask the vet to check to see exactly how many are gone, and if there’s any problem with her remaining teeth

July 28: I took Athena to her monthly vet exam. Depending on the results of her blood work, this may be her last monthly appointment. If her numbers have evened out, then we’ll switch to every other month. Per usual, Athena had blood drawn to run a standard complete blood panel (CBC), but this time the vet ran a slimmed down chemistry panel (CHEM) since most of those numbers have been well within normal for months.

Athena has gained quite a bit more weight — she’s up to 10.4 lbs! — so we’ll be switching her to diet wet food to see if that will help. If it doesn’t, then we’ll see about adjusting her dry food. I think part of the problem may be that she was stealing Bumbledore’s food while he was sick with a sinus infection. While I keep a close eye on them all when we’re home, they get two feedings at night, and she may have stolen food when we were out for chores. Hopefully with Bumbledore doing better, she’ll slim back down some.

After a look at her dental records, we now know that Athena somehow lost 2 teeth. I wish I knew what happened. Her other teeth still look fine. Perhaps she got a bit too rough with the rope toy.

Our vet also doesn’t have immediate answers for the low neutrophil levels. Our caseworkers don’t have any suggestions, either. The most typical reason for low levels is extreme infection, but Athena is doing far too well for that. We’ll see how her levels are doing when we get her results on Monday.

July 31: Excellent news! Athena’s blood work was great! I’m so happy, even her neutrophils are back in the normal range.

Test1 Mo PC 7/31O 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
Hematocrit38.737. – 52.7percent
Neutrophils4.0341.7392.1922.4953.2953.6182.2444.5602.62 – 15.17thousands per cubic milliliter
Bilirubin0.1< – 0.3milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
Total Protein8. – 8.8grams per deciliter (g/dL)
Albumin33. – 3.9g/dL
Globulins5. – 5.9g/dL
A/G ratio0. – 1.2
ALT323830352425262827 – 158international units per liter
The IDEXX test our local vet runs has different reference values than the test SouthPaws uses (week 4 results). I’ve included the IDEXX ranges on this chart

I’ve also updated her FIP Bloodwork Google Sheets file and blood work history dashboard.

Her results were good enough that we’re going to switch to appointments every other month, and I’ve asked our FIP caseworkers how we transition to “cured” in their tracking system.

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.

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