Special Case Cats:

R.I.P. 2020-2021

(Click here to see the latest updates on Atlas)

Status: Crossed over the Rainbow Bridge
Sex: Male
Age: Young Adult
Eyes: Yellow-Green
Size: Small/Underweight
Coat: Black and White Tuxedo
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Special Needs: At first.. no.. but now yes… but.. how??

This is his story…

When we rescued Atlas, he was one of our “at-risk” cat rescues. We didn’t have tons of extra space for new cats or much cash to spare at the time, but we knew that if he wasn’t rescued at this point, that he wouldn’t survive. Seeing as he had no special needs, we expected he would be easy to take on, socialize, and adopt out.  He was definitely not a cat we ever ever expected to be one of our most confusing special needs cases.


Atlas was rescued from a hoarding situation near Clear Lake, CA in July 2020. He was riddled in fleas, ear mites, had worms, a mild upper respiratory cold, needed socialization… basically, all the “normal” things we tend to deal with and expect to treat from intaking these at-risk cats. Off to the right is a photo of him shortly after he was rescued. He could stand fine and he acted like a normal kitten.


So we treated these “normal” issues and he was, by all standards, a completely normal cat that we were just working with to socialize better until November, 2020. He really came around socially and became extremely sweet. Here is a video of him from November 2nd:

On November 13th, I noticed he had an odd spring in his step, we wondered if he had injured or sprained his foot. He didn’t act like it hurt and we couldn’t find anything wrong with it, so we kept an eye on it…. Then, over the next week, he developed ataxia, then he became extremely wobbly in a manner of days while attempting to walk. We had just dealt with a cat that had similar symptoms over the last year that had FIP (Hagrid), and we were extremely worried that is was the same issue. If it were FIP, and it were treatable at all, it was going to be extremely costly and it would be better to treat it as soon as possible. So we looked into that being a possibility.


We took him to the vet and had tests done. He tested negative for FIP and they found absolutely nothing wrong physically or on anything off or weird in his test results. Unlike Hagrid or cats we have dealt with that have had FIP, he didn’t have a fever or a lack of appetite. He also still wanted to play, snuggle, and generally act like a normal cat! His eyes were clear, and the only symptom he had that could even align at all with FIP was the ataxia.


Earlier last year, his sister, Mouse, was rescued by us and when we took her to the vet… she was unfortunately in late stage wet FIP and had to be immediately put to sleep… So FIP was still on our minds as a possibility despite the negative tests. When Hagrid had it, he tested negative too because it was all located in his brainstem. I continued researching every possibility I could think of myself as we continued to have him


Unfortunately, he just continued to get worse and worse. He started acting like a paralyzed cat and dragging his back legs around. He could still get to the litter box fine though and he appeared to be able to feel his feet and move his tail, so nothing indicated that he was actually paralyzed. He also still had no fever or lack of appetite.

With every round of tests and X-rays, the vets couldn’t find anything. He continued to stay upbeat though! Still acting like a normal cat.

Unfortunately, his walking just kept getting worse and worse.

We kept spreading the word, saving money for a neurologist, and trying everything we could in the meantime that we could have done.

Atlas stayed positive and determined for the next couple months, seeming like maybe he was actually improving?

Sadly even after these strides, he continued to decline. In January of 2021, his ability to use the litterbox properly started to decline, specifically when it came to urinating in it. He started urinating on the floor without even seeming to notice it was happening.

We are still trying to figure out what is wrong with him. We noticed he was really touchy about us cleaning his chronically dirty ears so we suspected maybe he had a horribly inner ear infection? Or maybe a polyp like Earl Grey? So he went to the vet and had his ears deep cleaned and looked at as well as his head x-rayed… and they still didn’t find anything.  (Which was another enormous vet bill.) He is finally going to the neurologist very soon though, his appointment is finally coming up on January 26th, and we are still saving up money as we know the appointment is going to cost us a lot. During the time we’ve been working on him, as we still wait for the IRS to finish processing our 501(c)(3) paperwork, we also took on two kittens who had been tortured and burned with a torch by some horrible person that needed immediate rescue and treatment. We also had to move to a new location which was extremely costly and we are still paying off our care credit debt from last year in the middle of this crazy world that we’ve been living in.


We are dedicated to saving these cats though, and determined to get to the bottom of this, so if you can help us in any way, please do!

1-26-2021 UPDATE:

Atlas had his appointment at the neurologist. Sadly, the news isn’t great. Despite everything, the neurologist looked over all his paperwork and observed him and said he is 90% certain that it’s FIP at this case. We feel awful for making him wait so long, and we really hope it’s not too late to treat him. He still has an appetite, no fever, enjoys playing, snuggling, and really has a will to live.. but if we want to treat him and possibly save him we’re gonna need your help.

3-09-2021 UPDATE:

It is with a very heavy heart, that I have to announce, we have lost Atlas. Despite all our efforts, on March 5th. He started having continuous seizures and we ended up having to make the tough decision to agree with the vets and have him euthanized as he just kept getting worse and worse. We are all really torn up and sad about it, so I have been slow to update the info here. He was literally one of the sweetest cats on the planet and had been improving so much. We all had really high hopes for him.


We are still trying to raise the money to pay off his FIP treatment and other expenses though. On January 26th, shortly after I updated the site, to get him started on the FIP treatment as soon as possibly, we got him the meds that night and gave him his first shot. To do so, since these meds are ridiculously expensive, I had to dip into my own personal emergency savings and have been slowly paying myself back with Etsy sales.


Right after we started him on the meds, he immediately started to finally gain weight! He had even regained the ability to walk within the last month.

We were all so proud of him and happy for him.

He never stopped playing despite all the odds against him:

He was even starting to run again:

And he never stopped being a sweetheart:

He was doing so well I even got him a collar!

The sudden relapse took us all by surprise… and there was nothing we could do.

We are really.. really.. going to miss him.

He only had 1 more month of FIP treatment to go before he was going to be cured. 🙁

So, after we manage to pay off the care credit, the FIP meds we bought for Atlas, and other urgent rescue bills; we want to raise money to be put aside as an “FIP Fund” for the rescue for the next time we run into this. Before we had Atlas, we successfully treated and cured another cat with neurological FIP (Haggie), and before that, when we had no way of accessing the meds, we lost multiple other cats to FIP. FIP sucks, and we never want it to take another cat from us again if we can help it.


FIP is caused by the Feline Corona Virus, and it’s a Pandemic (similar to COVID-19) that cats have had to deal with for over 50 years. The only difference is, it’s so infectious that nearly every cat wordwide is infected with the Feline Corona Virus and if it develops into FIP, it’s 100% fatal if untreated. The drugs that have been proven to work are not readily available in the US, because companies like Gilead refuse to license them for use on cats despite the fact that multiple studies have proven these drugs work and cure FIP in cats. They’re actually even using drugs that were developed for FIP and can save these cats lives to treat humans with COVID-19 right now.


I personally have wondered, if we had paid more attention to FIP, would we ever have ended up with the COVID-19 variation of the Corona Virus considering how related they are. It’s extremely frustrating to read about but it’s also extremely important for people to be educated on it’s existence. For Atlas, and all the other cats lost to this horrible virus, we will fight this horrendous virus in any way that we can. Read on for more info on FIP and ways to help us pay off these current expenses and hopefully raise money for the future.


Links with useful info on FIP and it’s history:

Things you can do to help us:

  • Signal boost our case on your social media by talking about it and linking back to us in some way
  • Share a link to this page with your friends, family, and coworkers
  • Share a link to our Ko-Fi page
  • Buy us something from our Amazon wishlist (so we can put more of our own money towards this)
  • Buy something for yourself from our etsy shop (or a gift for a friend or maybe even your cats!)
  • Donate to our Ko-fi!

Remember, even if you can’t donate, just sharing this can really help us!


Thank you for listening!


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