How cats become infected with feline coronavirus, the virus which causes FIP

Feline coronavirus (FCoV), which causes feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), is shed in the faeces. FCoV infection occurs when cats ingest (or inhale) the virus. FCoV is a very contagious virus and it only takes a tiny speck of cat litter dust from a litter tray previously used by an infected cat for the virus to spread. FCoV is a moderately stable virus, lasting up to 7 weeks in the environment (so it is not as stable as parvovirus, which can survive for a year, but is a lot more stable than feline herpesvirus which survives only about 12 hours). FCoV is protected by cat faeces, by cat litter (unless the litter has anti-virus properties) and the by the stable environment inside a house or shelter. Outdoors, cat faeces is buried by the cat and is rapidly broken down in the soil. Cats do not seek out each others’ faeces, as dogs do, so there is a good chance of the FCoV dying long before another cat is exposed to it. Of course, FCoV has evolved to deal with this problem and is incredibly infectious and is shed at a rate of billions of particles per gram (or ounce) of faeces. In this animation we meet Augustus, a healthy FCoV infected cat, and see how when he uses a litter tray, his faeces contains billions of the highly infectious virus. Augustus will shed virus in his faeces for a few weeks or months, then will stop shedding the virus — it is likely that nobody will ever know that he was infected. Enter Plato, an uninfected cat who has to share a litter tray with
Video Rating: 4 / 5




25 Responses to “How cats become infected with feline coronavirus, the virus which causes FIP”

  1. 85nikki96 says:

    What litter do you recommend, Dr Addie? I am researching and found that people like World’s Best, but many people complain about the smell and tracking of World’s Best. And the wheat one does not clump well….etc. Which one do you use? Thank you….

  2. 85nikki96 says:

    Yes, I saw that video too and think that it’s a scam. She says that she has a product that can cure coronavirus. That video will also not let comments post unless it is approved by this person, so that’s why there are no comments on it. I wrote one to her and she didn’t post it. That’s very scary!!

  3. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    I understand because of lack of time if you cannot answer these questions but I wanted to put them out there anyway thank you.

  4. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    From your catvirus.com website – In summer of 2009, an exciting paper appeared by Prof. Al Legendre of Tennessee Veterinary School in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery reporting cure of 3 cases of non-effusive FIP using Polyprenyl Immunostimulant from Sass & Sass. This paper is a hopeful pilot study and I look forward to a controlled clinical study. Unfortunately, Polyprenyl Immunostimulant does not work on effusive (wet) FIP cases.
    Do you have any updated info on this research?

  5. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    I think inbreeding is also causing many health problems in cats and is difficult to avoid. I believe cats from the street make up the majority of ones that enter shelters. They are usually from colonies made up of moms and dads that can breed with their offspring when they reach maturity. Even cats that aren’t part of some formed colony can be related to other cats in the same area, distant cousins for example. Going to a breeder isn’t a sure thing either many bad ones out there.

  6. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    cont. Dr Addie, can you suggest the best raw meat diet, chicken, hamburger, or something else. Also in your own words, what is arginine blood levels and the relation to a cat’s immune system. If I google this I’ll probably end up reading something I don’t understand.
    Now I am wondering if cats fed a raw diet that live with many other cats have a lower incidence of FIP. I think today’s diet for cats is very unhealthy even dangerous.

  7. 85nikki96 says:

    What litter do you recommend, Dr Addie? I am researching and found that people like World’s Best, but many people complain about the smell and tracking of World’s Best. And the wheat one does not clump well….etc. Which one do you use? Thank you….

  8. 85nikki96 says:

    Yes, I saw that video too and think that it’s a scam. She says that she has a product that can cure coronavirus. That video will also not let comments post unless it is approved by this person, so that’s why there are no comments on it. I wrote one to her and she didn’t post it. That’s very scary!!

  9. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    I understand because of lack of time if you cannot answer these questions but I wanted to put them out there anyway thank you.

  10. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    From your catvirus.com website – In summer of 2009, an exciting paper appeared by Prof. Al Legendre of Tennessee Veterinary School in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery reporting cure of 3 cases of non-effusive FIP using Polyprenyl Immunostimulant from Sass & Sass. This paper is a hopeful pilot study and I look forward to a controlled clinical study. Unfortunately, Polyprenyl Immunostimulant does not work on effusive (wet) FIP cases.
    Do you have any updated info on this research?

  11. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    I think inbreeding is also causing many health problems in cats and is difficult to avoid. I believe cats from the street make up the majority of ones that enter shelters. They are usually from colonies made up of moms and dads that can breed with their offspring when they reach maturity. Even cats that aren’t part of some formed colony can be related to other cats in the same area, distant cousins for example. Going to a breeder isn’t a sure thing either many bad ones out there.

  12. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    cont. Dr Addie, can you suggest the best raw meat diet, chicken, hamburger, or something else. Also in your own words, what is arginine blood levels and the relation to a cat’s immune system. If I google this I’ll probably end up reading something I don’t understand.
    Now I am wondering if cats fed a raw diet that live with many other cats have a lower incidence of FIP. I think today’s diet for cats is very unhealthy even dangerous.

  13. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    Yes, having enough foster homes can prevent health and behavior problems. I have found it pretty difficult to find responsible and reliable people to help out with fostering cats. I will keep what you said in mind about the vitamin C and FIP. Are you not able to suggest a medication to treat nasal inflamation? I have been told this by other vets they won’t give out advice without seeing the cat and I can’t afford to go from vet to vet. Just another hurdle to deal with being in rescue.

  14. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    Dr Addie, thank you for your replies. One of my rescue cats had the worsening nasal inflamation while she was on the street and that is why I took her home. There is one other cat at her colony so in her case it doesn’t seem to be from being around too many other cats. I have 9 other cats and they have a large living space. I keep their litter boxes ultra-clean because I believe cats coming in contact with other cat’s feces is going to compromise their health in many ways.

  15. DrDianeDAddie says:

    It would appear, from data of age distribution of FIP cases, that middle aged cats are less likely to develop FIP than kittens or the old. Prof. Niels Pedersen once said that it might be better to obtain cats and kittens from personal ads in newspapers than from a shelter – he was probably right, though it depends on the shelter.

  16. DrDianeDAddie says:

    One has to be very careful with vitamin C in cats because prolonged use can predispose to bladder stones.

  17. DrDianeDAddie says:

    I suspect you may be dealing with feline herpesvirus infection. Stephanie – are there too many cats in your rescue shelter? This is a frequent problem for people saving cats, especially during this financial crisis. A network of fosterers can be safer than a shelter in terms of infectious disease control. Avoid dry foods, and give raw meat daily or every other day: even a soup spoon a day will help keep their arginine blood levels up, and strengthen their immune systems.

  18. DrDianeDAddie says:

    Yes indeed – World’s Best Original litter tracks the least of the litters which I have examined. However, no litter totally prevents FCoV infection. Allowing cats to toilet outdoors – even in an enclosed pen – is safer than having them indoors, sharing a litter tray from a FCoV point of view. (Though outdoors of course they may face other dangers.)

  19. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    Dr. Addie,

    I also wanted you to read a website about a cat rescue person that says she has cured some FIP cats with a vitamin C regime. I guess utube won’t let me put the website address here but I can email it to you. I would like to know what you thought about this, she also gives contact info of her vet that used the vitamin C on her cats. I value your opinions and appreciate all the work you do to help sick cats. Thank you. kay1931@hotmail.com

  20. stephaniecatlover01 says:

    Dr Addie, I am really needing advice on how to cure chronic nasal inflamation that doesn’t respond to clavamox and doxycycline. I am in cat rescue and some of my felv/fiv neg cats have this and I haven’t found a way to help them! Usually they have no nasal discharge or sneezing. Over time their nasal airway seems to get smaller and smaller, some of them start trying to breathe thru their mouth to get more oxygen but it doesn’t help much. If you have advice pls email me kay1931@hotmail.com

  21. 85nikki96 says:

    Dr. Addie–In print it looks like Com litter, but I ment CORN. Thank you–

  22. 85nikki96 says:

    Dr. Addie,
    Is there a kitty litter that you recommend in the US? Have you heard about the corn litter, and if so, do you recommend it? I’m scared about the scoopable–it seems so dusty to me, and it gets all over their fur and they will lick it.
    Thank you,
    Stephanie

  23. leavesontree3267 says:

    Is a FCoV-positive cat, 4-5 years old, have a lower risk of developing FIP, in comparison to a kitten or a senior? Is there any place that has kittens or cats for adoption that are FCoV-free? Is there a kitty litter that can kill the virus so it won’t spread? Is there a particular litter you suggest? Why do only some kittens who have feline coronavirus, who are stressed from adoption or neutering, the same as others, develop FIP, and others don’t? Thank you.

  24. 85lalala96 says:

    In the United States, is there a litter that you suggest?

  25. 85lalala96 says:

    Hi Dr.Addie–Let me reword what I asked…Are all cats at risk for the FCoV mutating into FIP, or is it just the ones that have something wrong with them genetically? And if it’s just genetic, why are 50 percent of them under 2? So–is it the immune system or genetics, or both? How can anyone test a cat for this prior to adoption? I want to adopt two cats, and now I’m afraid to!


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