Padiham animal rescue Feline Tails fundraising to help save kitten with mutated feline coronavirus – 'the deadliest disease known to cats'

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A Padiham animal rescue is fundraising to help save a kitten with mutated feline coronavirus – “the deadliest disease known to cats”.

Feline Tails, ran by Suzie Hornby and Josie Clark, are raising £2,764.40 to pay for treatment for seven-month-old Xappa who has feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). That is on top of more than £2,000 that the sanctuary already owes in vet bills.

FIP is a viral disease caused by the feline coronavirus. Cats usually do not show any symptoms and recover spontaneously. But if the virus mutates, it is almost always fatal.

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Josie said: "It’s actually the deadliest disease to cats, and one of the most complicated. It’s horrendous. Xappa will die without medication. There’s a 100% mortality rate without it.”

Josie Clark, of Feline Tails, has been helping to care for kitten, Xappa.Josie Clark, of Feline Tails, has been helping to care for kitten, Xappa.
Josie Clark, of Feline Tails, has been helping to care for kitten, Xappa.

Josie, who has been giving him oral fluids every hour for the past five days, added: “Xappa would be dead if I hadn’t been doing what I have. It’s a lot of hard work: I have been awake for five days.

"But we won’t let him die. He will be getting that medication. It’s not fair to let him die if we can help it.”

The kitten was “cheeky, happy and confident” just a few weeks ago when he was up for adoption, she says - until he lost the use of his legs and his head began to tilt after Christmas.

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Then came the devastating news that he has FIP, with Josie fearing he would need to be put to sleep.

Seven-month-old Xappa has feline infectious peritonitis.Seven-month-old Xappa has feline infectious peritonitis.
Seven-month-old Xappa has feline infectious peritonitis.

"He can’t walk. He has no balance. He can only stand up for about two seconds. Today was the first time he has stood up and ate some biscuits in the past five days,” she said.

“It’s very rare for the virus to develop this way, and we’ve had two cats get it in the past year. We were very surprised. We don’t know why it has happened.”

The rescue, which currently cares for more than 50 cats, is also in need of more volunteers due to seeing a rise in pets being rehomed following the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, it has had to stop taking them in.

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Josie said: “We’re absolutely full. We say ‘no’ to at least two cats a day, and some days we might get five. We can’t take anymore or it would put lives at risk because of germs spreading.”

Xappa requires treatment costing more than £2,000 to give him a chance of survival after developing complications to a type of feline coronavirus.Xappa requires treatment costing more than £2,000 to give him a chance of survival after developing complications to a type of feline coronavirus.
Xappa requires treatment costing more than £2,000 to give him a chance of survival after developing complications to a type of feline coronavirus.

The animal lover, who has previous experience in the field before joining Feline Tails as a fosterer, said: “I have never seen anything like this. It’s mental.

People thought cats could spread Covid so they were chucking them out. They were adopting them during the pandemic and then going back to work. We had one cat come in the other day who was adopted during Covid and now the owners don’t want her. She was bald halfway down and covered in flees.”

It’s why, she added: “We’re also really desperate for more fosterers and drivers to take the cats to the vets.”

To arrange to make a donation or sign up as a volunteer, please search for Feline Tails on Facebook and message the team.

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