My dad always felt that if they had not heard from me in awhile, something was wrong. He was almost always right. I’ve been holed up these past couple of weeks.
I am very sad to share with you that our beloved Lillie lost her fight with the horrendous FIP virus at about 5:30 in the morning on Sunday, May 30th. She was just a couple of weeks past her first birthday. She should have had many, many more. It was the cruelest twist of fate imaginable that took her.
I honestly had begun to feel hopeful that she would make it through; she had improved almost miraculously with the FIP treatment and we were on day 10, when we were blindsided by an unexpected turn of events. The grief I’ve felt since losing her has been the sharpest, most intense grief I’ve ever suffered. Both of us have been laid completely low with it. We are still struggling.
So many of you have been rooting and praying for her. I’m immensely grateful for each of you and for your caring hearts. Thank you.
Lillie was God’s perfect creature wrapped up in a cat’s skin. She was so perfect that, one morning, just a few weeks after we had adopted her, a terrible intuition passed through me: I was afraid for her. As it turns out, Patrick had had the same feeling.
I love animals, but never in my life have I bonded with one as quickly as I did with her. It was instantaneous. And she bonded with me. Maybe it was because she was turned in to a shelter when she was just 4 weeks old; after a few months, she came to the SPCA here in Richmond. I adopted her when she was 6 months old – all that time of her life spent without a mother or a home.
Lillie had everything. She was precocious and possessed an innate, gentle joyfulness in her soul. It was impossible not to smile, or even laugh, when she was around. Never was there a happier wake-up call than hers. She liked to play but was not destructive. She loved meeting new people. She would walk right up to anyone who came in the house and look up at them with those gorgeous green eyes as if to say “I’m very pleased to meet you.” She never once scratched or bit either of us. She loved intensely and freely. She followed me around like my shadow, waiting patiently by whatever door I had gone through for me to come back. She liked being with her peeps, mapping the sound of our voices until she found us. And she was beautiful. Her coat was unbelievably soft and sleek; I called her “Minky” because of that. She was incredibly calm and so, so sweet, even when she had to go to the vet. Even when she was so ill. From the doctors to the techs, they all loved her.
It is hard for me to properly explain to people just how perfect she was (and most people naturally think that is typical parental hyperbole) but if you were one of the lucky ones who got to meet her, you know how magical she truly was. It makes a very cruel fate even harder to understand.
Our house is sad and so empty now. All three of our babies left us in the past 10 months. It’s a terrible feeling. I keep looking for my little ray of sunshine everywhere. Because she was always wherever I was, even when she wasn’t feeling well. Especially then.
Muddled with sleep, as I tried to listen to and understand what a kind and compassionate emergency doctor was telling us over the phone early that awful Sunday morning, and we had to make that terrible decision to let her go, I felt my heart shatter into a million pieces. I’m not at all sure those pieces will ever go back together again in quite the same way as before. But last night I imagined all those pieces floating together above us in the heavens, and they were filled with bright light, sparkling down upon us. Lillie’s constellation. And that gives me some comfort after all.
As a postscript, I would like to add that if you – or anyone you know – is unfortunate enough to have a kitty diagnosed with this terrible disease, please feel free to reach out to me privately. I am happy to steer you in the right direction for good help – and some hope.
There is amazing research going on at UC Davis; Dr Niels Pedersen has been working on a cure for decades. He has identified a drug that can cure this disease. It has been working remarkably well with a cure rate of 80% or more. Sadly, our Lillie was one of the ones that did not make it but there are cats that are surviving FIP right now. If you have a mind to help eradicate this very cruel disease, please consider donating here. Your money would be so well spent. Thank you.