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There is always something going on in a multi-cat household. Erm 9... cats and counting...... Plus stories from the Sheffield Cats Shelter

Friday, 26 July 2013

The results are in...???

On Monday I called for the results. Only one part had returned and they couldn't tell me anything until everything came back.  I tried again last thing to see if anything more had come through and the answer was still no.

Tuesday lunchtime I was on the phone again.  Still nothing.  I asked if the result could be rushed through as I was so worried about all my cats.  Once more it was a no and, "they should be back in a few days".  I put the phone down with my head swirling.  I wasn't sure how, ringing for results on Monday had suddenly turned into waiting until Thursday. 

I decided the vets needed to know I wasn't happy.  Later that day I called again and explained the information I'd been given.  I said that if I'd been told they would be several days I wouldn't be quite so annoyed.  I advised that according to their practice the lives of 9 cats were riding on these results and asked if someone could just please ring the lab so I would know when they would be available.  I also mentioned the attitude of the vet.

It was then the receptionist started to apologise.  It turned out we had seen a locum and from what was said it seemed I was not the first person she had upset.  I was assured that she wouldn't be covering for them again and the receptionist agreed to call the lab and find out about the results.

tabbie cat with sore eye
Poor Millie
Later that evening another vet called me from the practice.  She explained that they were still waiting for Toxoplasmosis results but that the FIP result was the one that had been back from Monday and it was positive.  Now following all my research I know that there is actually no test for FIP, so this is a little misleading. What I was actually being told was that she was positive for coronavirus.  I will be dedicating a page to this virus and disease shortly.

I don't actually understand why no one could give me this result on the Monday, but at least I now had it.  The vet on the phone wasted no time in telling me what a bad situation this was for Millie and my other cats.  She made an appointment for me to come in the following Thursday the 18th. 

Millie continued to play and act as if nothing was wrong. I continued to research as everything I’d read didn’t seem to ring true to the information I was being given.

Thursday came.  The vet examined Millie’s eye once more. She then proceeded to tell me that I needed to make ‘decisions’ about both kittens as they would spread this disease to all my cats who would not be able to then leave the house.  She also told me that I needed to alert the Cats Shelter (I’d already spoken to them right at the start) as I had, in her words, ‘opened a can of worms for your own cats and the cat shelter’ 

I really couldn’t understand what I was hearing. This is my simplistic understanding of it:-  The coronavirus can be passed on yes, but in most cats it seems to be like us getting flu.  FIP occurs due to the body’s reaction to the virus.  From what I’ve read the FIP disease can not be passed on and will only occur in a small number of cases.  It’s actually not that common. It seems to me that it is generally young kittens or older cats who are weak or have immunity issues who become more susceptible*. Those with FIP will still be shedding the virus in their poo, so this is where the main cross contamination risk comes from.  Cats do not become immune to it either, they can continue to re-infect each other, although there are ways to reduce the risks with good litter hygiene.  In a multi cat house like mine it will be harder to eradicate.

I tried to discuss my understanding with the vet, but she insisted that FIP could be spread and that I needed to consider my options for both kittens.  In addition it's still worth pointing out that whilst FIP is possible, it is not confirmed.  When I asked if it was worth seeing an eye specialist, it was knocked back.

All the way home I cried, but by the time I got there I’d picked myself up again.  I would not be trying to ‘get rid’ of the kittens.  Even if I wanted to, who would take them?  There are hundreds of unwanted healthy cats and kittens without homes, what chance did my two have?

I moved as much furniture out of the cat room as I could and went out and bought the best high street cat tree I could find (not that impressive) and some new toys.  Do you know why?  Because I wasn't giving up on my little girls, even if they had to stay in one room, we would manage and they would be loved.

kittens playing with a cat tree
kittens playing with a cat tree

In the back of my mind I was thinking, if I think they're wrong about the advice they're giving me, how am I supposed to have faith in the diagnosis? I decided it was time for a second opinion.
*please note:- these are only my own interpretations – if you’re affected by this I’ll be posting links to the resources I used and I’d strongly suggest you read and make your own decisions – and if your pet is ill, see your vet


  1. We are new to your blog and will have to go back to read some more tonight. But PLEASE get a second opinion. No vet is perfect. We found an article by one of our favorite rescues you may want to read: http://bestfriends.org/Resources/Pet-Care/Cats/Health-And-Care/Feline-Infectious-Peritonitis-(FIP)/

    1. Thank you so much for posting this. It very much echoes my own thoughts. Don't worry, I think the vet needs to do some reading

  2. Good for you!! I am so very very proud of you for not taking this laying down, and insisting on the information and not accepting their directives for the kittens..

    I can't tell you how many people would have just given up at the word of the vet.. I am ..apparently I'm at a loss for words cause all I can come up with is proud again.. I just love it when people take control of medical care for the pets in their care..

    1. Thank you. If she had been really ill (in addition to the eye) it might have been different, but she was and is so well. No way will I just give up like that.