Category: reader cats

Parsnip Was Rescued From A Hoarder And Found Her Forever Home — Then She Got Sick

Anae Evangelista was reeling from the deaths of two close friends when she saw Parsnip in a local shelter’s online post.

The 21-year-old college student had been thinking of getting a cat for weeks after accompanying a friend to a local shelter. After checking the shelter’s adoptable pets again, she fell in love with an adorable tabby with a clipped ear and sky blue eyes and immediately made plans to see her in San Diego.

Parsnip took to Evangelista immediately.

“She was so affectionate, pushing her head into my hand for pets, and I knew she was the one,” Evangelista told PITB.

Although many cats take days or weeks to adjust to their forever homes, Parsnip “strutted into my apartment as if she owned it from day one, zooming all over the place [with] enough energy to bounce off the walls,” Evangelista said.

Parsnip sleeping
Parsnip enjoys a snooze with toe beans on display.

Although she had a rough start to life and was rescued from a hoarding situation, Parsnip was friendly, affectionate and warmed quickly to her new home. As human and kitten became fast friends, Parsnip’s presence was an immediate boost to Evangelista’s mental health.

‘She’s been my rock,” she said, “and although she can’t talk, I feel as if she’s constantly encouraging me to stay strong.”

But after about six weeks Parsnip’s energy level took a distressing dive. She was weak, slept a lot and wouldn’t eat much. A vet visit didn’t yield any answers, and the next day Parsnip displayed more telltale signs of a seriously sick cat — she stopped eating and drinking entirely, and began eliminating outside of her litter box.

After consulting another veterinarian, Evangelista finally had an answer. Little Parsnip was suffering from Feline infectious peritonitis, a more virulent strain of feline coronavirus that infects white blood cells resulting in dangerous inflammation, per the Cornell Feline Health Center.

“An intense inflammatory reaction to FIPV occurs around vessels in the tissues where these infected cells locate, often in the abdomen, kidney, or brain,” according to Cornell. “It is this interaction between the body’s own immune system and the virus that is responsible for the development of FIP.”

The disease is “usually progressive and almost always fatal without therapy.”

But there’s hope for Parsnip: With the help of her veterinarian and an online group for people whose cats have FIPV, Evangelista was able to get her kitty accepted for experimental treatment with GS-441524, a nucleoside analogue antiviral drug that has proven effective at treating all types of FIP in several trials in recent years. (It’s been so effective, in fact, that Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturers have been supplying GS-441524 on the black market to cat caretakers who haven’t been able to get their cats into trials.)

Since starting the treatment, Parsnip’s responded well: She’s eating again, the swelling has been in retreat, and she’s once again interested in play time, exploring and other things cats love to do. She’s even able to hop up on the couch again.

That’s a far cry from her condition just three weeks ago when she had a 105-degree fever, no interest in things around her and couldn’t get up under her own power.

The 84-day treatment, subsequent vet visits, monitoring and blood work is expensive: Evangelista estimates it’ll cost her about $5,000 in total. She’s looking to raise half that amount via a GoFundMe. It’s a huge expense, especially for a college student, but for Evangelista, spending the money is without question.

“She’s been my foundation and she deserves the world,” she said, “so I want to give her the chance to live to see it.”

Follow Parsnip’s progress on Instagram @lilmissparsnip

Meet Starlin The Good Girl

Cat name: Starlin

Cat’s age: 10

Cat’s human servant: Barreleh from Cape May

Starlin’s origin story:

Starlin, aka The Star Baby, “began life in a friend’s backyard,” according to her human, Barreleh.

“At the time, I was a Philly PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) volunteer, and I was pretty sure I could get that tiny gray kitten into one of the PAWS shelters,” Barreleh recalled. “[I] lent my friend a humane trap, and told her to call me when the kitten was in it.”

Barreleh had barely left before she got the call and turned around.

“I returned to pick up the kitten, and took her into the room in my home where all foundlings spend their time until they’re ready to either be adopted out, or join the furmily,” she said. “As soon as I got her out of the carrier, she WIGGED OUT, and spent the next few weeks under the furniture. Every time I came in the room to feed her and do litter duty, the second she heard the door open, under the furniture she went.”

Barreleh knew only a gentle approach was going to cut it with the skittish kitten, so she sat on the other side of the closed door and began talking to Starlin in calming tones: “Sweet nothings, mostly,” she said.

Giving the scared little one some space paid off, as did the soft-spoken reassurances.

“I could hear her purring on the other side of the door,” Barreleh said.

A week later, Barreleh was at home when her husband called her upstairs. The previously fearful kitten was sitting on his lap. That’s when the couple decided to keep her and named her Starlin.

The tiny kitten grew up to be a petite cat, living in Philadelphia with her humans and her four feline siblings, including “The Looney Toon Brothers,” Ivy Spivington and Lucinda.

Five years ago, the family packed up and was ready to move to Cape May, New Jersey. They awoke early to corral the cats, believing the easygoing Starlin would be the easiest to handle. Things were going smooth, with the cats — “even the outdoor stray/feral cat I had been feeding, and couldn’t bear to leave behind” — getting into their carriers generally without complaint.

Not Starlin.

The next hour played out like a slapstick comedy, with Starlin leading Barreleh and her husband on a chase up and down the stairs and around the house.

“Finally one of us was able to grab her, kicking and howling like a banshee, and somehow got her into the cat carrier,” Barreleh said. “From there, there was not a peep out of her for the whole 2-hour trip. When she finally exited the carrier, she morphed back to being her adorable self.”

Starlin’s favorite things are her beat-up old wand toy, catnip parties, chasing the infamous red dot, cuddling with her humans — and eating eggs.

“She loves, loves, loves eggs,” Barreleh said.

Little Starlin is about to turn 10, but she’s almost as active as a kitten when it comes to play time.

“She is sooooooooo sweet, and sooooooooooo cuddly, and still loves to chase the little red dot,” Barreleh said. “And when I sing out ‘Where’s my baby?’ she comes running.”

We profile our readers’ cats regularly. Would you like to see your cat featured here? Send us a message via our contact page and tell us all about your furball. Previous featured cats: Meet Tux (4/21/2021), Meet Bowie (4/12/2021)

 

Meet Tux, A Cat So Dapper He’s Always In Formal Wear

Cat name: Tux, a tuxedo (duh!)

Cat’s age: 8

Cat’s human servant: “Two slow humans”

Tux’s origin story:

Reader Julie wasn’t always a cat person.

“Never had a cat or wanted a cat before,” she said. “I believed the myth that they were cold and selfish animals.”

When her teenage son came back home one day with a kitten rescued from a “sketchy” house in a friend’s neighborhood, Julie didn’t want to let him keep the baby cat.

“I regret to say now that at the time I insisted that he go to the Humane Society,” July told PITB. “Two challenging teenagers and two elderly dogs with health problems were enough to handle.”

But Tux was special and needed a good family who would show him love. The kitten was the sole survivor of a cat family that was asphyxiated in plastic food containers, presumably by the home’s occupants, who left in a hurry one day.

There was one survivor mewing from the attic. The theory is that Tux’s mom was trying to protect her babies and got him to safety before she ran out of time and cruel humans ended her life.

Julie’s son named the cute kitten, and her daughter kept the little guy in her room. But she had a busy schedule between school and work, and Julie was the only one home most of the time thanks to a job that allows her to work from home.

“Even though I didn’t initially want a cat, I checked on him often hiding in her room and he started to let me pet him,” she said. “Eventually he started following me around, and soon hung out with me. [My daughter] was mad that he chose me and said that I stole him from her!”

Tux worked his feline magic, and Julie quickly became a cat person. His presence turned out to be a blessing for the family when their dogs died within six months of each other.

These days he rules the home like his own kingdom by keeping watch atop his tree house, stealing plastic bottle caps to play with, knocking things over (he’d get along great with Buddy!) and, of course, “scolding us when he perceives that we have slacked off with servant duties!”

“I never could have imagined the great love from Tux over the years,” Julie said. “He seems to understand so much of what goes on and he is my feline child! Yes, I might be a crazy cat lady now! He is smart and funny and so loving. As long as the humans know their place!”

 

Meet Bowie the Cat!

Cat name: Bowie, a Siamese mix with tabby markings

Cat’s age: 14, will be 15 on May 7

Cat’s human servant: KC from Los Angeles

Bowie’s origin story: “I’d been without a pet for a couple of years, and woke up on a particular morning with the idea that ‘I’m going to find cat today,'” reader KC says. “I’d thumbed through no more than just three or four listings, and at the sight of a single pic I knew I’d found the one!”

KC knew such a beautiful kitten wouldn’t last long on Craigslist.

“From the time stamp on the post I could see it had only been up for ten minutes. I called the number and the woman on the other end said, ‘Man, you’re fast!'” KC writes. “As it turned out, though, one person was even faster, and the four month old kitten had already been promised — on the condition that the woman called back in the a.m. to confirm. If she didn’t, he’d be mine.

“As luck would have it, I picked him up the next morning, and the love fest is still on fifteen years later!”

Bowie the Cat
Bowie with his sister Phoebe, left. Phoebe is a rescue who was almost put down due to a bad infection. Credit: KC

At that point, Bowie was Chloe: The family adopting him out thought he was female, then decided to part with him when they realized they were wrong. KC, who was a fan of David Bowie, named the young kitten after the king of glam rock.

“I figured something that sounded similar would make no difference to him, so, I almost went with Joey. Once Bowie occurred to me, though, I knew that was it!”

Bowie’s favorite things are his human, his sister Phoebe, eating delicious yums, napping, and getting massages fit for a king — the little guy likes to purr, knead and have his ears rubbed at the same time.

Adopting the furry little Ziggy Stardust felt like fate.

“My favorite part of the story is also the craziest,” KC writes. “When the owner mailed me some paperwork with her vet’s info., etc., a few days later, I was shocked to read that my new pal and I actually shared the same birthday!!! Icing on the cake, really, that only served to confirm the match was meant to be.”

Would you like to see your cat featured on Pain In The Bud? Get in touch here and tell us all about your feline friend.

Bowie the Cat
Handsome Bowie with his steel blue eyes. Credit: KC