Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Pet's death motivates Bowmans

by on April 12, 2014 10:58 AM

Scott Bowman isn’t the fastest runner in his household.

Neither is his wife, Aileen.

That distinction would go to Snickers. Or Meadows. Or Sylvester, Kitty or Haley, any of the Bowmans’ five ordinary housecats that, on average, should be able to reach 30 mph in a burst of speed.

At that sustained rate, cats could finish a marathon in 52ᄑ minutes.

But why would they want to?

That aside, Scott Bowman plans to pay tribute to their felines when he runs in the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21. In particular, he will honor their cat Cincy, who died in January from a sudden onset of Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP.

Cincy was only 15 months old. Being young, his immune system was not fully developed and left him vulnerable to the feline coronavirus, which usually has little effect on robust, healthy cats.

FIP is almost always fatal and there is no known cure, Bowman learned after Cincy was stricken.

The disease claimed the youngest of the Bowmans’ cats just a few weeks after Scott decided to run the marathon in response to the invitation extended to all the known victims of the 2013 bombings.

Marathon organizers told Bowman he could connect philanthropy with his run, so he has chosen FIP research as his charity and has already collected several thousand dollars in pledges and donations toward the cause.

Bowman is directing contributions to the Feline Health Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine of New York, at Cornell University.

The Bowmans, who have no children, have raised eight cats and consider them their family.

“Obviously, we’ve been cat lovers forever, and we’ve had cats get old and die of natural causes,” Aileen Bowman said. “But I would never want anybody to have to go through what we did in such a short period of time. One minute he was fine, and the next we thought he just had a cold and was not getting over it.”

Symptoms of FIP include loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, dehydration, anemia and fluid in the abdomen.

Cincy also had liver failure and jaundice.

“In the third stage, when we took Cincy to the vet again, we never dreamt on that Monday that by Friday we would not have him. He just went downhill,” Aileen said. “It is a very, very, very hard and sad thing to have to go through.”

Cincy was a blue-eyed white Ragdoll, the only purebred cat among all those the Bowmans have owned.

He got his name because he came from a breeder in Cincinnati, Ohio.

And now Cincy’s cremated remains are stored in an urn built into a statue of a cat that looks remarkably like the living Cincy, that sits on top of the TV in the Bowmans’ living room.

The Bowmans said they’re counting on others who love cats as much as they do, to help reduce the chances that other cats develop and die from FIP.

They’re accepting contributions by mail at 111 Rural Gardens Court, Indiana, PA 15701 or online through the Cornell University website, abbreviated at

For more information about the Bowmans’ campaign to stop Feline Infectious Peritonitis, phone (724) 465-0618.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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