In loving memory of Amelia
Amelia was rescued from the high-kill Downey Animal Shelter in Los Angeles when she was a kitten.
After having Amelia in our lives for almost a year, my husband and I suddenly noticed she was in discomfort. Knowing that it is unusual for a cat to express pain, we scooped her up, bundled her in the first blanket we could grab, and rushed her to our vet right away. Once we had tests and blood work done, we took Amelia home and awaited the diagnosis. The next day while in the middle of a meeting at Apple’s headquarters my phone rang. The caller ID showed the vet's number. The vet told me the diagnosis, and I broke down hysterically crying. Amelia was diagnosed with an advanced stage of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), an uncommon and incurable disease. She had limited time left to live that was discussed in terms of weeks or months. Completely heartbroken, I rushed home to her.
Life is fragile. That same night while embracing this challenge of helping Amelia fight for her life, it was hard not to reflect on the past. In our minds, we saved Amelia from being euthanized and the conditions she was living in at the shelter. She was supposed to be safe now and grow old with us and her "cat siblings." Once we came to terms that Amelia had FIP, we decided that she would live life to the fullest. We treasured every moment that we spent with her, and gave her all the attention and love in the world. We experienced newfound joy and happiness with Amelia. But each night as we administered the prednisone steroid that staved off Amelia's physical pains, I felt that pain transfer to my heart. It seemed that, just like matter, pain is never destroyed in the universe, just transformed.
To our surprise, days passed, turned into weeks....weeks passed, turned into months. More time passed by, and we realized we had no ordinary cat on our hands. Our vet had never seen anything like this before, and couldn't believe a cat with a severe case of FIP was still doing so well. The vet was now calling Amelia a "miracle cat." Few cats with FIP ever make it this far, and none have been known to survive. Maybe our little Amelia was the little cat that could?
Unfortunately, tragedy struck. Amelia's symptoms worsened and the virus affected her nerves to the point where she could no longer walk, and it was hard for her to breathe as her little body started to fill up with fluid. That is the hallmark of "wet" FIP. Amelia lived with FIP for over a year, and we knew in this moment that her time was up. During Amelia's last day with us, we let her experience being outside which she absolutely loved so she could feel the sun on her fur and see all the birds flying around by our bird feeder. For her last meal, I placed a small plate of wet food in front of her. She ended up taking only two licks. When I looked down at the plate, I noticed Amelia had made the shape of a heart. I will never forget that moment. Even though she was so young, she left a lifetime of impact on us.
Amelia lived only until she was 2 years old before crossing over the Rainbow Bridge.