December 10, 2021 – Seal Beach, CA – It started the way it always does. A happy, playful kitten suddenly grown quiet. She didn’t want to eat and lost weight. She no longer wanted to play and slept, curled in a ball, lethargic and unresponsive. She spiked a fever which would not come down.

We ran the usual tests but we knew – the monstrous virus that stalks mostly young cats and kittens had found our precious Hakuna.

The bane of all those who love and care for cats, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, commonly called FIP, is a deadly mutation of a common and usually very survivable Feline Coronavirus. It is relatively rare but when dealing with thousands of cats over the years as we have, sadly we have encountered it enough with its ruthless, heart-wrenching outcome.

In the past, we could only keep its victims comfortable for as long as possible, watching helplessly as the virus tore through organs and reduced once bouncy kittens to listless shadows. The only relief we could give them, in the end, was to surround them with love and end their suffering.

Treatment, and even a definitive test, had eluded feline disease researchers for years, but finally there is a medication available with which we have saved cats already.  It is expensive – about $3500 per cat  – but we feel Hakuna is worth it. It is also a long course of treatment, spanning 3 months for medication administration followed by another 3 months of monitoring, but we have a foster care provider ready and willing to walk this path with Hakuna. 

Our goal as an organization is to help more cats live full and cherished lives. We want that for them all. We never, ever want to have to make decisions about giving a cat a chance to live based on money.

If you can, please help make that promise a reality for kittens like little Hakuna, just 4 months old with her whole life ahead of her – or so we hope. 

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, CatPAWS Facebook page, or call 562-280-4450 to learn more or get involved.