One day, Jeanne Prins' six-month old kitten Paris was playing actively; the next she was like a limp rag. "I took her to the veterinarian," recounts Prins. "We assumed it was an abscess. He gave her a shot and said to bring her back on Monday if she wasn't better. I took her home and she couldn't stand up. On Sunday morning, my 20-year-old cat Sanibel couldn't walk. I assumed it was coincidental. But then on Monday, my one-year-old cat, Higgins, also couldn't walk. My 10-year-old cat, Kitten, stopped eating and I took him in, too. Then A.J. couldn't climb the stairs. The virus hit us like a tornado."
Prins, a veterinary supplies salesperson from Reisterstown, Md., discovered last November that she ultimately lost three cats to what was confirmed, upon autopsy, to have been a virulent systemic strain of the feline calicivirus.