My sister lost her kitten, Peppercorn today – after having lost his sister, Popcorn, on November 20th.
They were under 2 years old and both died from the same horrible disease – Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
(Read about FIP here: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/fip.html)
Popcorn and Peppercorn were rescued from the streets and brought to the veterinarian that my sister has been using for years. The day they were brought in was the same day my sister was there to pick up the urn of her beloved Gizmo. She immediately fell in love with these 2 kittens and, after finding out that they were randomly left in a box outside a bar in New Jersey, took them both home to begin their life off the street.
Their breeding history is not known – one can only imagine the life of a stray. They could have been inbred, they could have been born to a mother who was just a kitten herself. Whatever the reason, Popcorn was always weak – having 2 surgeries before she was a year old and finally developing FIP and losing her battle with it within one short week. Her brother’s fight was much shorter – one night from symptom to loss. And this happened under the best care the cats could have known. I know of no better cat owner than Dina. They had a life with her that they never would have had if their paths didn’t cross when they did.
But this brings me to the bigger issue. Shelters are overcrowded, animals are roaming the streets unprotected and unloved. And every day more and more are born in the wild or through irresponsible breeding (which can pass along genetic defects like the one thought to contribute to the viral mutation that causes FIP) – puppy mills, casual breeders looking to make a quick buck, “accidents”. The bottom line is, I beg anyone that has a love of animals to SPAY AND NEUTER your pets! Even house cats and dogs can have the urge and opportunity to escape outdoors, especially if sensing a potential mate.
There are many programs out there for low-cost or no-cost spay and neuter. Please look for them in your community. We can help prevent other kittens from suffering the fate of Popcorn and Peppercorn.
Here is some information from Northern Virginia’s program, Spay, Inc.:
Thank you for letting me vent – and mourn.