How my cats recovered from FPV (Feline Panleukopenia Virus / Parvovirus / Feline Distemper) +Tips for cat parents! - The Multi-Hobbyist

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How my cats recovered from FPV (Feline Panleukopenia Virus / Parvovirus / Feline Distemper) +Tips for cat parents!

How my cats recovered from FPV (Feline Panleukopenia Virus / Parvovirus / Feline Distemper) +Tips for cat parents!

World, meet my 2 beloved cat babies: Cotton and Button! Yesterday was October 4th, where we celebrate 'Kindness to Animals Day' in the Philippines. It was declared so by the former president of the Philippines, Carlos P. Garcia in 1958. It then made me realize how far I have become from being someone who is afraid of animals, to now having 2 cats (and probably a dog too, soon).

Yup, I used to be scared of animals—cats, dogs, etc. Back then, no matter how cute they are, I ain't having it. BUT! that was before. Now I'm obsessed with cats. Dogs, slowly, but I am getting there.

With my 2 babies: Button (left) and Cotton (right)

This photo was taken right around my birthday. The happiest I was so far, because that time I was so contented with my life: my career, my personal life, and especially since we just got our second cat, Button, a half-British Shorthair, half-Persian baby girl. We got her as a partner for my first baby, Cotton, a half-British Shorthair, half-American Curl baby boy, who I got during the second year of pandemic.

I thought everything was perfect. I was so contented. Until Button started getting sick. She was pooping and farting. I didn't think much of it, I thought she was just stressed and adjusting to her new home, but then it went on for about 3 days consecutive days already. That's when we decided to bring her to our favorite vet, The Cat Clinic in Makati.They are the first feline-specific veterinary practice in the Philippines, and we've been going there since September 2021 because of how good they are in caring for Cotton ever since.

That day was actually my birthday. (How fun, right?) But we made sure to schedule a consultation with their vet, Dr. Karlos, to explain the symptoms (mostly wet poop and vomiting) and know what was wrong with Button. TCC did some tests and after an hour, Button was confirmed to have FPV, or Feline Panleukopenia Virus, also known as Feline Parvovirus, or Feline Distemper. On top of that, Button also tested positive for FCov or Feline Coronavirus, and Feline Giardia (equivalent to amoebiasis in humans). Happy birthday to me!

Anyway, our vet assured us that as long as Button is eating well/has an appetite and is her usual energetic self, we don't have to worry. What we had to do was to make sure she has enough nutrients and vitamins in her body since FPV does not have a medicine yet so it's up to her immune system to fight the virus.

However, less than a week later, we had to rush Button for emergency care since she kept on pooping and vomiting. As much as she wanted to eat, she couldn't due to the vomiting, and that's why their vet insisted on admitting Button for confinement. We agreed as we know they will take good care of Button. I was on the verge of crying right in front of the attending vet, Dr. Mich, because she said at that point, Button's life was 50/50 already since the virus is so strong, and usually the younger cats who have it have fewer chances of surviving since their immune system is not as strong yet... I was literally bawling on the drive home. I was crying and crying.

At that point, I felt like it all went downhill for me, and for us. Cotton started showing symptoms too. Their vet said the incubation period for the virus was 14 to 21 days. We had Cotton tested at least three times but it all showed negative. Then came the 21st or 22nd day when we had him tested again, and boom. It was positive. My heart sank.

My heart and my savings sank even more when Cotton had to be confined too since his symptoms were more severe. When we thought Button's and his health were improving already, they were discharged from The Cat Clinic after about 3 days. But after less than a week, we had to rush Cotton back to their vet since he was vomiting almost every hour. He can't keep any food or liquid down.

What's worse, his vomit is clear and foamy—meaning his stomach is empty and there is already acid. So even though my savings were pretty much nonexistent at that point, we had to have Cotton admitted again. This time, he stayed there for 5 days. I, again, was bawling on the drive home. I was crying and crying. I was having a panic attack, crying so hard in bed because I was so afraid of losing Cotton...

But by the grace of God, the amazing team of doctors and nurses at The Cat Clinic Makati, and thanks to my husband who shelled out for the majority of the vet bills, Cotton and Button survived and beat the shit out of this killer FPV. It was definitely difficult for us financially, physically (since we were caring for the 2 cats while we had work), mentally and emotionally, but seeing them recover and get healthier, was truly rewarding. 

So how did my cats, Cotton and Button, both recover from FPV / Parvovirus / Feline Distemper?

1. Routine vet visits and vaccination.

And I can't stress this enough: routine vet visits are important! Especially if you have a kitten/s since they need proper care: from vitamins, vaccinations, the right diet, weight monitoring, and more. Like in humans, vaccinations are important because it helps protect them from deadly viruses. It was through our consultations with the vet that we were able to understand their health and know what we needed to do in order to keep them healthy. 

Button was probably the carrier of the virus since she got the symptoms first, but good thing she is fully vaccinated. In fact, after she tested positive for FPV, she even gained weight and was her energetic and takaw self. 😅 Cotton is fully vaccinated too, and it's probably why the incubation period for the virus in his body took the longest. And even though he had severe symptoms, he still survived is not at his healthiest!

2. Be sensitive and attentive to your cats.

It can be difficult, but trust me, it is how I managed to keep my babies healthy. I am very OC with everything, so I know if there is anything unusual be it to my surroundings, the people I'm with, and most especially my cats. For me, it's a good thing, because every time I see something unusual from my cats' behavior, there usually is something wrong. And I was always correct lol. Case in point: Cotton's bump which turned out to be a closed wound that has already necrotized to the point that amputation was almost an option. That was the time I rushed Cotton to The Cat Clinic for the first time. That was on September 8, 2021, and since then, we've only gone to The Cat Clinic in Makati for our cats.

Plus, cats have a tendency to hide/disguise their discomfort which usually is related to an illness. So as cat parents, we need to be more sensitive and attentive to any changes in they behavior. Take the time to know and understand your cat well, that's what I did: research and read articles, and most importantly, spend time with them. That's the best way to get to know your feline friends well. Since cats cannot talk, I focus on his behavior, his movements, and his voice. 

Good thing my cat, Cotton, is also very open to communicating with me. He knows how to tell and show me what he wants, so most of the time, he gets what he wants. He is a spoiled baby, and that is fine with us because he is such a smart and good baby!

This was Cotton waking me up in the morning to tell me he wants to go out of our bedroom!

3. If you are getting a new cat, isolate.

Just in case you are planning to get or adopt a new cat in your home, please consider isolating the new cat for about 2 weeks. Keep the new cat away from the other cats to ensure that no viruses or parasites will be passed on to your other cats, or even dogs. As mentioned earlier, there is a 14 to 21-day incubation period for the virus to progress in the body and start showing symptoms too.

This was probably my only mistake when we got Button. We were so excited to introduce her to Cotton that we did not isolate anymore so Cotton got infected too. The only time we got to isolate Button from Cotton was after they both got confined. We were told by the vets to keep them apart, with no contact at all, so we kept Button in our home office, and Cotton had to stay in the guest room.

We used a modular mesh as a barrier by the door so he could still see and hear us even if we were in our home office working. So please, please, learn from us. I wrote and shared this so I can help a fellow cat parent like me. Please don't make the same mistake that we did. If you are getting a new cat, isolate. 

4. Maintain cleanliness at home.

Our doctors over at The Cat Clinic told us that the Parvovirus is one of the hardest viruses to kill as it can cling onto surfaces and stay there for about a year, so it's easily passed on to almost anything. Even most cleaning products are unable to kill the virus, and just a strong bleach will do—but please remember that bleach is harmful to our pets, be it a cat or dog. 

If you have a budget, invest in pet-friendly cleaning products. Otherwise, you have to be more careful at home: keep shoes away from where your cats are, as it is dirty and could be carrying a variety of germs, and even viruses.

5. Good diet, vitamins, and supplements.

Strengthen your cat's immune system first and foremost through a good diet: avoid dry food brands that are known for having more than enough amount of sodium in it. Do not always give them dry food, make sure there is wet food too. If you have the budget, you can either cook boiled chicken or fish; or buy canned wet food for them. Otherwise, you can serve them boiled squash mixed with some boiled chicken or fish. 

Do give them vitamins and supplements to further boost their immune system. I give my cats vet-prescribed vitamins daily, and some supplements as needed. Remember that viruses like FPV do not have medicines yet, and it's their immune system that will do the work so you need to give them vitamins to make sure they have enough antibodies to fight off viruses.

6. Love and care for them.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I believe that our love and care for both of them helped them beat FPV. Some may think they're just cats and they don't feel anything. It's not true. Cats know how to love and they also know when they are loved and by whom. Sure, not all cats are the same, and even with humans too, but in my personal experience, Cotton and I have formed a bond wherein we already know how to communicate with each other. During the times he was sick, he sought for me more. He would meow for me, so every day I would work and take meetings in the guest room.

When both of them were confined, I made sure to visit them daily, no matter the traffic, no matter how tired I was at work, I would make time to see them even if it was just for 5 minutes. I clearly remember their faces, especially Cotton's, whenever he sees me entering the Parvo ward of The Cat Clinic. Per the nurses, he was always at the farthest corner of his cage, very quiet, and was staying alert. But once he saw me, he would get up, his face light up, and was so excited to be near me. Whenever I would open his cage, he'd become so eager to eat, as if to show that he was eating a lot so he could be home as soon as possible. I swear, the nurses are my witnesses. You can browse our posts about Cotton and Button's battle with FPV via their Instagram page.

I created this blog post so I can reach my fellow cat parents like me, especially those who are currently fighting their battle with FPV. If you are reading this, I know how tough of a battle this is for you and your cat, so I hope that through sharing our experience, I was able to help you gain a bit more knowledge about your cats and how to beat FPV. You got this!

If you have any questions about FPV or need any tips regarding your cat, please feel free to comment below. I will reply as soon as I can. TTFN! :) 


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