On 17 December 2012 my husband and I shared our first loss as a couple: we made the tough decision to put our cat, Leonidas, to sleep. He had Feline Infectious Peritonitis (F.I.P.), which is an incurable, fatal disease. It is a rare mutation of a more common feline disease, the coronavirus. There are two forms of F.I.P., effusive (wet) and non-effusive (dry). If a cat suffers from the wet version, fluid builds up in the abdomen very quickly and the cat will die from suffocation within a few days to weeks. If a cat has the dry version fluid builds up very slowly or not at all, and the cat can live a few weeks to months. Thankfully Leonidas had the latter version, and therefore did not suffer. The other symptoms of the disease, however, became more pronounced: very low weight, small appetite, and ataxia (loss of motor control). Ultimately, what influenced our decision was that he could not use the litter box without help due to almost complete loss of motor control of his backside.
Russell and I both cried A LOT the day he left us. Time has helped with the healing, but we still miss our little cuddle buddy, Leonidas Ferocious Mischievous Poufy-Tail Trouble.
This is Russell’s favorite picture of him. He was regal and proper even as an 8-week-old kitten.