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Pet Parents: Tonya and Patrick

Rainbow Bridge Arrival Date: February 28, 2008


Darla's Moment: Undisclosed.

FIP Story: Our Sweet Angel Darla....... To whom we owe so much! I have been a cat lover my whole life. So it is actually very strange that I married someone with known severe cat allergies. After 8 years of being together, I couldn't stand not having a cat anymore. I pleaded with my husband to take medications, and I promised I would do everything possible to keep the dander down. (I didn't know what really caused the reactions then) He finally agreed to let me get 1 cat, as long as the initial reaction wasn't to severe.

So I poured over websites of shelters, and found a little darling. Her name was Darla. She was ohh so cute! I went to meet her, and took my kids with me. She did well with them, so I decided to bring my husband back to Petco to see her. He didn't have a reaction to this girl! I was ecstatic. So the next morning, I went to the shelter to fill out an application for Darla, only to find out, so had multiple other families. It was up to the staff to determine the best fit for Darla. After almost a week of agonizing, and driving to Petco daily to see her, we got the call to come pick her up! I can't describe the elation I felt. We got Darla on January 10th, 2008. I took her to her adoption check-up the next day, and found out she had some minor issues, but the vet said they were nothing to worry about. We treated her with antibiotics, and Revolution for the earmites.

We spoiled her rotten, and couldn't help but notice, my husband doing the same. She had a way of getting into your heart. She had a special pink bed, that she had to sleep in. At night we would put it into bed with my younger girls, and Darla would climb in and go to sleep. Later that night, she would come get us, and jump in our bed, and wait for us to move her bed. So the nightly ritual of sharing our bed with a pink kitty bed between us began. But, to my surprise, my husband didn't complain. He was completely and totally in Love with her.

We noticed she was getting a belly on her, and was content to sleep a lot. It was odd for a kitten, but we just thought she was a really laid back cat. We were so wrong. Her belly just kept getting bigger, and it wasn't the "fat and happy type" either. So we took her to the vet only to have our hearts broken. My sweet girl was diagnosed with something called FIP or Feline Infectious Peritonitis. They vet told us that there wasn't any known cure. I wouldn't accept that answer. I scoured the internet, and support forums. I tried other vets, and feline specialists. I ordered ridiculously expensive meds, and tried all types of vitamins, and even assist fed her. My angel baby fought long an hard. She went through medical procedures, and was never mean about them. She just purred the whole time. All of the vets fell in love with her. It was during this time, that I first found out about Siberian cats. I had multiple vets tell me that she resembled a Siberian, and that could be why my husband didn't react to her. So I started looking them up, and learning. It was a great way to keep me going. Whether she was a Siberian or not, I will never know, but she was my heart!

I tried so much, and it just wasn't enough. Our beautiful angel went to the Rainbow Bridge On February 28, 2008. It wasn't even 2 full months after we first brought her home. Through all of the tears and vet visits, and everything, I wouldn't have chosen a different cat, even knowing the outcome. She was given a loving and compassionate home and at least, a chance. I only hope her brother (who was adopted before she was) had a better chance. (his name at the shelter was Deacon)

Darla, changed our lives, by teaching my husband how great cats can be. She lowered my blood pressure, and taught my kids to be gentle. She also is the reason we found out about Siberian cats. From all of this, I joined a Siberian cat list and told of our story about Darla. A wonderful family in Indiana contacted us, and thanks to them, our beautiful Siberian girl Mia, joined our family. In my heart, I think Darla had a paw in it!

I am now a firm believer that more research needs to be done for FIP. It is horrible, and effects more cats then anyone realizes. Please take the time to look the the important links pages and check Josie's site, and Bria's site.

Thank you to everyone that was kind enough to share in our Darla's story.................... We miss you, our little angel.




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