April 4, 2020 – Seal Beach, CA – Redemption, hope, and inspiration are a few of the words that Helen Sanders CatPAWS uses frequently to describe cats and kittens that come to the organization with serious medical issues, abuse, and neglect. Taking on cats with medical challenges, CatPAWS will do everything in its collective power to save another innocent soul. Wizard is no exception.

Wizard came to CatPAWS from Long Beach shelter as a tiny kitten. He had been sick much of the time he was in foster care, visiting the vet several times with no clear answers on what was really going on. With some hope and specialized care, Wizard started to make what his foster considered some recovery- even though there was still no clear indication of what his medical issues entailed. At that time, Wizard was at the age where it was time to start to seek out adoption families. However, something was still off. He was not gaining weight and he was not playful, something he would always do when he was feeling well. Taking this issue seriously, his foster and a volunteer for CatPAWS got him into a local vet to get bloodwork analysis. Both were suspicious of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) but dreaded even thinking that. After further observation and tests, the veterinarian concluded that Wizard did indeed have the horrible virus.

FIP is difficult to diagnose. There is no definitive test. There is a test which detects the presence of exposure to feline coronavirus (different from the one which changed our world and not transmittable to humans) but that virus is common and usually produces some cold-like symptoms, so just having the coronavirus doesn’t mean the cat has FIP. Many cats have it and are fine. However, the cat cannot have FIP without having had the underlying coronavirus. In about 5% of the cases, the virus mutates into this vicious, lethal form known as FIP, but there is no specific test for that. There are two forms, effusive, known as ‘wet FIP’ and non-effusive, known as ‘dry FIP’. The former causes fluid build-up in the abdomen and lungs and kills quickly. The latter takes longer, typically attacks the nervous system and is characterized by neurological symptoms such as ataxia, ocular changes, possible seizures.  The diagnosis is a presumptive one based on observed symptoms.  Typically striking young cats, often kittens under 6 months old, it was inevitably lethal and heartbreaking.

Thanks to decades of groundbreaking research by the renowned Dr. Neils Pedersen at UC Davis, now there is a way to fight back. The medication is not yet readily available through vets, and it is expensive, with a course running several thousand dollars. For all the cats lost over the years, and those who loved them who watched helplessly as their lives slipped away, CatPAWS chose to fight. The medication is expensive, with a course running roughly $3000, and sometimes another course or additional medication is needed.

Wizard has undergone treatments for FIP that cost roughly $3,000. CatPAWS is raising money to cover these costs and another dose of the treatment which he may need in the future. Donate today to Wizard’s care!

About Helen Sanders CatPAWS
Founded in 2010 to continue the legacy of Helen Sanders, who practiced and advocated trap-neuter-return (TNR) for feral community cats ever since the 1990s. CatPAWS rescues at risk cats from public shelters, finds adoptive homes, provides support to the community with education, low or no-cost spay/neuter vouchers, traveling kitten therapy program, and the DIY kitten care project. Visit www.helensanderscatpaws.com, CatPAWS Facebook page, or call 562-280-4450 to learn more or get involved.