The smallest feline
is a masterpiece.
- Leonardo da Vinci
Moki's Story:
Every now and then, cat lovers come across a truly rare find. A kitten or cat, that
stands head and shoulders above the rest. Now that cat or kitten may not be
the healthiest, cleanest, or even the friendliest, but there is something extra
special about them, something that tugs at your heart strings, something that,
well, just melts your heart. For me, that kitten was Moki.

I first met Moki while volunteering at my local feline shelter. I had been
volunteering for a few months when Moki and his sister Java where admitted to
the shelter. It was kitten season and we had an influx of kittens in the shelter,
many of whom where feral. I like to think that someone must have been
watching out for Moki and his sister, since we found them on the doorstep of
the shelter one night, cold, scared and hungry.

Over the next few days I went about my business as usual at the shelter, but as
each day passed, Moki caught my attention more and more. Perhaps at first it
was because, we didn’t normally house kittens at the shelter, but then it
became something more. Moki and his sister Java were two of six kittens that
we could not place immediately into foster homes. Most of our foster homes
wanted cute cuddly kittens, not untamed wild ones. Looking back on it, I have to
admit Moki was probably the worse one of all. Whenever one of the shelter staff
would try to take him out of his cage, he would pitch a fit something awful. His
ears would go back and he would hiss as loud as he could. When that didn’t
work, he would try hiding under his bedding, in his litter box, behind his food
and water bowls, whatever would make it most difficult for you to get him out of
his cage. His attitude however, did not fool me. As days passed and I grew
more attached to his fitful ways, I began speaking with my boyfriend about
bringing Moki home to foster. We already had six cats so the decision to bring
Moki home to live with us, was one we had to give much consideration. After a
few days, and some long hard thought, we agreed that this extra special guy
deserved an equally special home, if only on a temporary basis…

The minute Moki meet my boyfriend was amazing. I will never forget it. Moki and
my boyfriend instantly bonded. It was as if Moki had never been feral. The next
few days and weeks went well. We had given Moki his very own bedroom filled
with toys, a scratching post, a queen-sized bed to sleep on and all the food he
could eat. He ran, jumped, played, purred and delighted in all the attention.
Unfortunately, little did we know, that was about to all change.
Moki had suffered from what at first appear to be a mild upper repository
infection ever since I had brought him home from the shelter. We didn’t believe
it to be anything major. Over the years I have had a number of cats with URI’s
and the shelter had treated hundreds of cases that appeared just like Moki’s at
the time. Neither of us had any reason to suspect that this would turn out to be
unlike anything either of us had every battled before.

We started Moki on a regular course of antibiotics all the while believing his
symptoms would clear up in a few days. When his symptoms got worse,
instead of better, we took him to the vet. By now Moki had gone from a little
sneezing, slight runny nose and watery eyes, to being lethargic, and refusing to
eat or drink. Along with the antibiotics, we began force-feeding Moki. We also
started him on a daily routine of sub-q-fluids, which I administered myself at
home. When Moki’s health continued to decline, and his head started shaking
like a diabetic when their insulin level gets to low, we took Moki back to the vet.
This time he stayed over night. I will never forget what happened next, the
month was July, the exact date was 7/27/2007.  Blood was drawn from Moki
upon his arrival at the hospital and the result of his blood test came back on the
morning of 7/28. The news wasn’t good. Moki’s had a temperature of 104.3 and
a white blood cell count of 0.7. The normal reference range for kitties given the
test was 3.5 – 16.0. The doctor told us at that time that Moki wasn’t going to
make it. “His white blood cell count was lower than a cat suffering from
leukemia in their final stage.”  
Despite all the odds being
against Moki, I couldn’t give up
hope, I wouldn’t give up hope, so
since the office where he was
currently being held at, closed on
Sundays, I picked up Moki that
afternoon and moved him to an
emergency vet.  After taking a
look at Moki and the medical
records I bought with us, the
emergency doctor on call
confirmed what the first doctor
had said. Before leaving Moki in
her care, she thought it was best
that I say “good bye” to the sweet
little guy, since it was unlikely he would make it through the night. It was not
without much crying, telling Moki to hang in there and that I would be back to
see him again tomorrow, that I let the doctor take Moki to the back office for the
night. If Moki made it through the night and didn’t have a drastic turn around by
morning, the doctor said she would have to recommend putting Moki to sleep
the following day. That night I just couldn’t sleep. I cried and prayed and cried
and prayed some more. Moki just had to pull through this, despite the odds…

The next morning I received a call from a new doctor, who had taken over
Moki's case. The new doctor asked if I could come in right away to see Moki.
She informed me that Moki’s health status looked nothing like what was
described in his medical records from the night before, and since she was not
the doctor on call when Moki was admitted, she asked that I come take a look
at Moki to verify that her findings where correct and that there hadn’t been
some kind of mistake made.

When I got to the hospital, I to was surprised. Moki, who had been standing at
death’s door only a matter of hours ago, was now alert and aware of his
surroundings. I made the 40 min trek to visit Moki everyday, over the next few
days. While alive and obviously alert, Moki had suffered some neurological
damage. At first we where not sure if he would ever be able to sit up or eat on
his own, was our little guy doomed to a bed ridden life?

On the third day, Moki managed to sit up on his own, although it was only for
short periods of time, before he would end up falling over on his side.  His
head still shook uncontrollably and he was still unable to stand. Here stood a
shadow, of the proud fierce kitten I had brought home just weeks before. The
little guy, who was ready to take on the world, now couldn’t even manage to
crawl inside his own litter box.

On the upside, the vet techs discovered that Moki could indeed eat on his own,
but only when a plate was held up to his face, and only wet food. Of course
Moki still needed help to sit up for extended periods of time while trying to eat,
but the fact remained that Moki was making progress!

By the end of the third day, the doctor sent Moki home. At that time she
informed us that she believed Moki had a condition known as cerebellar
hypoplasia. Although Moki tested negative for feline distemper, the doctor said
it was possible that Moki’s mother may have suffered from the disease at the
time Moki was conceived. The severity of the condition the doctor informed us
varies widely among cats. She could not tell us to which extent Moki may
recover, but she did inform us, that Moki would never get any worse as a result
of the disease.

To be honest, I could have cared less about whatever accommodations we
would have to make on account of Moki’s new found disability. I was just
happy the little guy was alive and home at last, for I had promised Moki on that
dreadful day when I first brought him to the emergency vet, that if he where to
pull through this, he would have a forever home with me.

Moki’s first week at home was pretty eventful. When the doctor called to check
in on Moki a week and a half after his release from the emergency hospital we
where proud to report that after much work and lots of struggle, Moki was
taking his first few steps on his own, since recovering from the illness. He was
now also able to eat on his own from a dish placed on the ground.
As days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, Moki continued to
improve. Before we knew it, four months had passed and we where able to
take Moki completely, off the medicine prescribed by the emergency vet. Within
a very short period of time, after having stopped the medication prescribed by
the emergency vet, Moki had developed a urinary tract infection.  It was now
mid Nov. to be more exact.
Our regular vet started Moki
on a series of antibiotics to
treat the UTI. When the UTI
didn’t clear up we brought
Moki back to the vet. This
time Moki’s doctor decided to
take an x-ray of Moki’s
bladder and to run another
blood test. While waiting for
the results of Moki’s blood
work to come back, Moki’s
doctor obtained all of his
medical history from the other
doctors who had treated Moki in the past. In the meantime, I brought in some
video footage of Moki walking around at home, that I had recorded in the past,
to show the doctor. When the results of the new blood test came back,
Moki’s doctor found a startling surprise. Moki’s blood work showed that Moki
was FIP positive. After examining Moki’s prior blood test, the doctor also
discovered that Moki had been testing FIP positive all along. The good news
was that with each new blood test, Moki’s FIP titers where going down. The
bad news came when the doctor examined the videos of Moki I brought in.

After examining the video of Moki, the doctor concluded that Moki did not have
cerebellar hypoplasia. Cats suffering from CH all have the same tale-tale
sign and that is a flagpole tag.  Moki’s tail instead of standing straight up in
the air when he walked, fell limply behind him.  Moki was no CH kitty after all.
So what was Moki suffering from?

The new unconfirmed diagnosis was neurological FIP. Since our regular vet
could not confirm his suspected diagnosis, he thought it best, if I wanted to
pursue the issue, to refer me to a specialist at UC Davis. The Veterinarian
Teaching Hospital at UC Davis, he informed me could do a liver biopsy to
confirm the diagnosis of FIP. The doctor went on to tell me that a FIP positive
result on a blood test only indicates that cat has been exposed to one of many
coronavirsus. Most cats will actually be exposed to a strand of a coronavirsus
in their lifetime, but few will ever come into contact with the strand that actually
mutates into FIP. Given Moki’s neurological problems, the age at which his
symptoms appeared and the positive FIP results on his blood work, the
doctor felt it best to have Moki examined further. So off to UC Davis we went. If
Moki was willing to continue to fight the battle, who was I to stop him…?

Moki’s his first appointment at U.C. Davis was back in Dec. There they did an
ultrasound, and ruled out obvious liver disease as a cause of Moki’s
neurological symptoms. They also confirmed that Moki’s bladder was ok, and
that he was responding to the antibiotics being used to treat his UTI.
Fortunately, while they couldn’t rule in or out FIP, they felt that Moki was not
displaying all the normal signs and symptoms, which often accompany the
disease.  So now we where back to square one. UC Davis informed us that
Moki was a rare case. The doctors there had not seen many cases quite like
Moki’s so they where uncertain what was causing Moki’s symptoms. Since
Moki had even the neurologist at UC Davis puzzled, they recommended two
separate courses of action. Their first recommendation was to have an MRI
and CSF tap preformed.  The problem they informed us in doing the MRI and
the CSF tap lied in the fact that since they had no idea of what they where
dealing with, both of these test might turn up no results. The two tests where
also very expensive and there was no guarantee that either test would give us
a positive answer. Both of the tests would be used as a way of ruling out
possibilities. The underline hope would be that one of the two tests turned up
an answer. The second course of action would be to meet regularly with one
of the two neurologists that had seen Moki to record his progress. By
recording Moki’s progress and or regression over a period of time,
the two neurologists who saw Moki, might have a better idea of what they are
dealing with.
It is now Feb 6. Moki’s UTI
has cleared up. He is doing
well. He still suffers from
neurological damage, but it
doesn’t seem to get him
down. In fact he has recently
started running a little, about
four or five steps before he
falls over, and taking small
jumps while he is playing.  
We decided not to put Moki
through all the additional
testing recommended by UC
Davis and instead to meet
with a neurologist on a
regular basis, that is until
such a time that we can raise
the additional money to cover
Moki’s tests. In the
meantime, Moki has an
appointment set up with the
neurologist at UC Davis on
March 6 to continue to record
his progress.

Moki’s love for life goes
beyond anything words can
describe. He has thought us
that there is nothing we cant
over come, with the help of a
friend, a little support and lots
of love. It is with this in mind
that I have become Moki’s
voice, to share with all of you,
what he cannot, the story of
his life…
If you enjoyed reading Moki’s story and
would like to help in this fight, we ask
that you please make a small donation to
a fund I have set up through Paypal. All
donations will be used to cover the on
going costs of medical care and testing
needed for Moki.
Welcome to:
Moki's Medical Record     
Moki's Lab Work
Videos of Moki
Moki's Friends...
Giving the sick and the disabled feline population a voice