May 17, 2014

Darnarian "Potamus" Brown, RIP

We adopted Darnarian from the MSPCA back in December, 2006 (see his welcome post). He had a wonderful life with us, but he recently developed Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP, or as I call it, "Fatal Kitty Disease."

Darnarian was a wonderful kitty, and he died today, largely because of FIP, but more directly due to "anemia of chronic illness."

He was fond of squirrel watching, and he never met a ball he didn't like. Other hobbies included sleeping (he was an excellent sleeper!), eating dust out of corners, and lying in the middle of the kitchen while we were preparing dinner. The garage was one of his special spots -- he loved to roll around in his pop's wood shavings. He loved any bathroom, especially toilets, sinks, and bathtubs; he was particularly fond of curling up in any sink just about his size. Of course, he was a box-dweller too: he hopped into any box around.

When we had a house with stairs, he loved to run up three or four flights at a time; once he slid off the banister when he got to the top floor, resulting in a bloody nose.

He was a magnet for funny names - Darnarian itself is fun to say and never boring, but we also called him Potamus, and sometimes, the Mayor of Potamus-town. Early on, we called him the "weenie wiggler" and more recently, we called him "head butter 5" in honor of his fondness for head-butting and as a riff on UNC basketball player Kendall Marshall's "Kbutter5" Twitter name.

Darnarian lived in two states (that we know of): Massachusetts and North Carolina, and he's always been a trouper. Even on that 14-hour trip from MA to NC, he didn't make a peep.

Darnarian's current favorite toy is "fleece-on-a-stick," also known as the Cat Charmer. Here he is with his sister Emma on a recent Sunday morning.

Darnarian is survived by his non-biological sister Emma (who is now 15) and his two humans. All of us are grateful to his smart, kind, and caring veterinarians (Drs. Kipp and Heinz at Piedmont Veterinary Clinic, and Dr. Flood at Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital).

FIP is a pretty horrible disease. For information from a few reputable sources, check out


Lisa said...

I read the first link. Not entirely clear why Emma isn't at risk. They say it isn't contagious bit she definitely carries the virus. Am I missinng something? One of my two cats is from Dakin Animal Shelter. Think that is the name. Lovely tribute for the Mayor.

LauraJH Marshall said...

What a beautiful memory--and a cat who obviously brought much into your life (lives).

Stephanie Willen Brown said...

Lisa, I think that Emma is not at any greater risk now that we know Darnarian had FIP than she was before. She's probably been exposed, but Dr. said that if she hadn't gotten sick by now, she probably wouldn't. I'll need to check if she could infect another kitteh, but I don't think we'd know that definitively.

Only about 10% of cats who are exposed to the active feline corona virus actually get FIP - it's a genetic mutation or something (they're not quite sure of that).

If we were to have gotten a new kitteh while Darnarian was still alive, we would have quarantined her or him for safety. Not sure for how long tho.
We need to wait at least a month before getting a new kitteh, to make sure that the virus isn't active around our house (some sources say 3 months). I disinfected all the litter boxes he used plus other things in the litter box room yesterday, and will need to do a good vacuum too. Not sure what we'll do with the seat cushions he sat on.

It's also unclear if he was actively shedding the virus now.

UC Davis seems to be the expert school on this, so i'll probably do more research in the coming weeks. If I weren't a librarian, I'd want to be a scientist!