October 13 is (hopefully) Tintin’s last day of FIP medication.
Tintin declined quite rapidly after arriving at Catoro. We think that at some point in his life, he had contracted a strain of the feline coronavirus which had mutated into feline infectious peritonitis - known more commonly as FIP. Tintin is from Saudi Arabia. He was found abandoned and was scooped up by an amazing woman named Helen who works in Saudi Arabia and runs a completely self-funded animal rescue. When she isn’t able to rehome cats locally, she pays out of pocket to have them flown to us.
Helen sent us 11 amazing cats who arrived at Catoro on June 1. The flight is stressful, to say the least, but we were so excited to meet them all. You may remember Leenah, the one-eyed beauty who needed surgery to close up her eye socket. There was also Luna, the beautiful ragdoll cross who melted hearts. We still have two of the kitties from June 1 - Roo and Nino, both Arabian Maus, are still at Catoro waiting for their forever homes.
As the cats settled in and we started to get to know them, we became concerned about Tintin. He only weighed 3.5 kg (just under 8 lbs) and you could feel his ribs when you picked him up. His belly was bloated and hard to the touch - full of abdominal fluid that had built up from FIP.
You may have seen the viral Tiktok of him going into an absolute frenzy when being fed. While it was funny, it was also our team’s first indication that something was wrong. We’d never seen a cat with food aggression like that before. It turns out that while Tintin was eating a lot, his body wasn’t able to process any of the nutrients in the food, leaving him emaciated and weak.
Tintin started his course of daily medication on July 20. We first started with a subcutaneous injection, which can be quite uncomfortable. As he slowly gained weight and the dosage of his medication increased, we switched to an oral pill, which was a much better experience for him (and us). With a little smear of Tiki Stix on each pill, he’d eat them right up.
Over the last three months, Tintin has steadily gained weight. He was sedate and listless before, never able to find a comfortable position to lay in. Now, he is active, affectionate and comfortable in the strangest of positions. One of his favourite ways to nap is on his back, tummy exposed, legs sticking straight up in the air. He’s incredibly playful and has newfound kitten-like energy. He wants snuggles, pets, and all the love we can give.
When we shared how expensive the FIP treatment is, one commenter said “Although I am obsessed with my cats and love creatures with all my heart, I’m not willing to spend that much on an animal. Hard opinion to express.” I’m not sure what she will think when she hears that Tintin’s treatment has exceeded $20,000. It’s a lot of money, especially for one little cat.
The treatment for FIP is not obtainable for the average cat owner. We were lucky to have had a very busy summer with lots of amazing guests coming through our doors. We are even more lucky to have such an incredible, engaged community who will rally and unite to help cats they’ve never even met. Without your generous contributions, we would not have been able to save Tintin.
At least, we hope we’ve saved Tintin. After he finishes his medication today, he must be closely monitored for another 3 months. We will be looking for signs of infection and relapse in that time. He will require monthly bloodwork and still have to be in quarantine - until early 2024.
If you are able to keep supporting Tintin, we deeply appreciate every Cat Forest visit, litter order, sticker purchase and donation. Without you, we cannot keep saving cats who would otherwise face euthanasia. This week, please consider dropping by for a bubble tea (we just launched a new menu) or booking a forest visit to spend time with our other kitties.