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There is always something going on in a multi-cat household. Erm 9... cats and counting...... Plus stories from the Sheffield Cats Shelter

Corona Virus & FIP

When I started to research Coronavirus and FIP I found a lot of conflicting information.  If you find yourself in a similar position, and end up here, I hope the following will be useful.

This is my simplistic understanding of it*:-  


The Coronavirus can easily be transmitted between cats, often through poo. It's likely that a lot of cats have it, or have had it at some point and in the majority of cases it doesn't cause any major issues.

FIP occurs due to the body’s reaction to the virus.  From what I’ve read the FIP disease can not be passed on and will only occur in a small number of cases.  It’s actually not that common. It seems to me that it is generally young kittens or older cats who are weak or those who have immunity issues who are more susceptible* and Dr Addie suggests that stress can also play a part.

Those with FIP will still be shedding coronavirus in their poo, so this is where the main cross contamination risk comes from.  Cats do not become immune to it either, they can continue to re-infect each other, although there are ways to reduce the risks with good litter hygiene.  In a multi cat house like mine it will be harder to eradicate.

There is no test for FIP only for Coronavirus, therefore Vets generally use blood tests and symptoms to make a diagnosis.

There are two types of FIP, wet and dry. The websites below give specifics on symptoms for each.

My Vet told me to isolate my kittens from the rest of the household.  After researching I believe this is not necessary.  Again I stress, you need to make your own decision on this.

*Please note that these are only my own interpretations – if you’re affected by this see the links below to the resources I used. I’d strongly suggest you read and make your own decisions – and if your pet is ill, see your vet

Where I found information to become more informed:-


Dr Diane D Addie PHD, BVMS  is a veterinary surgeon and virologist who has spent the last 23 years researching feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and feline coronavirus infection (FCoV) from the University of Glasgow. She has dedicated her website to information resources for cat owners, breeders and veterinarians which can be found at  www.dr-addie.com 

You will find a variety of free resources here, but also a downloadable booklet.  If you can purchase the booklet please do, as the money received goes towards funding research into this horrible disease.

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine published some interesting research information in June 2013 entitled:- 

Breakthrough discovery gives first hope against deadliest cat virus

And finally, for a quick and simple guide I found the Cats Protection Leaflet to be really useful, visit their downloads page and look for the leaflet entitled Feline Coronavirus (FCoV) and (FIP) - PDF

Personal thanks to all these people/sites (and many more I came across) for putting this invaluable information out there.  Vets don't always get it right so make sure you research.

Additional information

11th July 2013 BBC News article 'Clue to why cat virus turns deadly'


  1. basically correct from what I understand as well.

    There is a test to confirm it, but it involves a biopsy and most cats who are suspected FIP kitties are not well enough to go under surgery... so it is confirmed by a necropsy after death if an owner is so inclined to do.

    Once the corona virus mutates it is not transmittable to other cats. It is believed that there is a genetic component to why it mutates which is why it was originally thought to be contagious. It used to take whole catteries.

    I keep my foster kittens isolated from my own cats (I currently have seven) since it is very possible that cats can carry disease and not show symptoms nor test positive for six weeks. I know many foster homes keep kittens separated for a week or two to make sure URI doesn't show up, some don't isolate at all unless the kittens can not handle new cats. After the misery I went through 11 years ago I will not subject my cats or myself to the 'what if' of integrating residents and fosters again.

    The blood tests the vets are using have not been proven to be accurate. They have been trying to use them for 10+ years and yet they still are not proven to be an accurate test for FIP.

    I am so sorry you know all this. I am so very hopeful that one day we will have a cure for this so no pet owner needs to face this..

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. It's very hard to get the right information on FIP. It seems to be very misunderstood. I'll be making time to read your blog asap.