Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys

FIP research

Last night, several hundred people gathered in a hotel ballroom in Reston, VA for the Winn Feline Foundation’s 33rd Annual Feline Symposium for an unprecedented event featuring two legendary researchers who presented new developments in FIP research. The gathering included such noted feline veterinarians as Dr. Susan Little, past president and current board member of the Winn Feline Foundation and Dr. Jane Brunt, Executive Director of the CATalyst Council, as well as cat breeders, cat rescuers, and veterinarians.

It also included cat owners like Harry and his daughter Rachel, who lost their kitten Parker to the disease.  Rachel wore Parker’s collar as a bracelet. “We lost Parker at the age of eight months to this disease I’d never heard of before,” said Harry. “For the last six years, I’ve been following all the research on the disease, and tonight, I’m excited to be here to hear about the latest discoveries.”

FIP are the three worst letters any cat lover can hear. Feline Infectious Peritonitis is caused by a coronavirus and affects the cells of the intestinal tract. The corona virus in itself is a common virus in cats, and cats may not even show symptoms other than perhaps a mild gastrointestinal upset. But for reasons that have eluded researchers so far, in some cats, the benign virus mutates into a highly infectious version that then causes FIP. It usually affects kittens and young cats, and it’s virtually 100% fatal. FIP kills as many as 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 cats under ages 3-5.

Renowned pet journalist and broadcaster Steve Dale opened the event and introduced Alfred M. Legendre, DVM, PhD, ACVIM, Professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology, Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and Niels Pedersen, DVM, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Director of the Center for Companion Animal Health and Director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Legendre shared preliminary findings from his study of Polyprenyl Immunostimulant in treating the “dry” (non-effusive) form of FIP. Polyprenyl Immunostimulant is a biologic product that upregulates innate immunity in animals and has a potential to prevent and to control diseases in cases when vaccinations are ineffective, not available, or when vaccinations are not practically feasible. The product shows promise in improving well-being and probably survival in cats with the dry form of FIP. Future studies are needed to look at Polyprenyl Immunostimulant with and without antiviral treatments, and the mechanism of immune response in cats treated with it. Median survival time in the study of 58 cats was 49 days. One cat is still alive more than five years after the study was begun.

Dr. Pedersen spoke about the challenges of FIP research. There are four primary components of FIP research currently conducted at UC Davis:

  1. Study the genetics of the virus.
  2. Study the origins of the virus in shelter environments and how different shelter environments and practices may influence disease incidence.
  3. Screen human anti-viral compounds for cross-reactivity to the FIP virus.
  4. Determine genetic polymorphisms that may be associated with resistance and/or susceptibility to the disease.

He emphasized that researchers can’t find answers without the help of breeders of pedigreed cats. DNA samples from breeds with known FIP histories can help researchers pinpoint the location of genes that may be involved in the susceptibility to FIP and other diseases.

The bottom line? There is much research that still needs to be done. Research requires money, and cat health studies are notoriously underfunded. In his opening remarks, Steve Dale’s statement that “if FIP happened in the dog world, there would already be a cure” was met with loud applause from the audience.

How can you help? Educate yourself about the disease and raise awareness. It’s a devastating disease – both physically for the affected cats, and emotionally for the cats’ owners. But there are small glimmers of hope. Help keep that hope alive by contributing financially to organizations that fund FIP research.


Winn Feline Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1968 that supports studies to improve cat health. If you have a cat, it has benefited from the work this foundation does.

The Bria Fund for FIP Research provides funding for FIP research. Bria was a nine month old Birman kitten who died from FIP in April, 2005. Bria had the good fortune to live with Susan Gingrich and her husband, James Shurskis, in Harrisburg, PA. Susan is a sister of Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and founder of the Center for Health Transformation. The Center provided a generous contribution to establish the Bria Fund.

SOCK FIP (Save Our Cats and Kittens from Feline Infectious Peritonitis) is a global consortium of cat lovers, breeders, rescue groups, veterinarians and geneticists who are working together to support research on feline infectious peritonitis at the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health (CCAH).

July 10, 2011 update: Thank you to Steve Dale for posting the complete audio from the symposium on his blog – to listen, click here.


About the author

70 Comments on New research brings hope in the battle against FIP

  1. My 8 month old Ragdoll was diagnosed with FIP on Monday. He stayed at the vet until Wednesday where he was given IV fluids, prednisone and doxycycline. His is home with me now. He’s very lethargic. No longer playing with his brother. He has not eaten today. He only had a bite of tuna fish yesterday. His belly is filling with fluid. He is still able to jump on the couch and still tries to follow me around the house and greet me at the door as much as possible. He is purring away, as usual but now I notice sometimes when he meows, there is no sound. How do I know when it’s time to say goodbye? His brother is grooming him as we speak… Like he knows what is happening. Jontel has a follow up vet appt today at 6:40pm. I was thinking it would be a quick check up and then I would bring him home. After reading all these informative stories and comments, I wonder if I shoul pit him to sleep today. How do I know when it’s time? He’s still purring and showing me love. As I sit here writing this in tears, can somebody please tell me what I should do. I can’t imagine that in exactly 9 hours, my sweet loving Jontel’s short life may be over. My heart is breaking…

    • I’m so sorry, Vida. My heart is breaking for you. This is such a devastating disease. Making the euthanasia decision is always devastating, but with a kitten, it’s simply unimaginable to have to make it. I’d like to offer you this article, maybe you’ll find something that will help:

      • Thank you for the article. I did the quality of life scale and the results were as expected. So in my heart I know what should be done. I just can’t bear the thought that he only has hours to live. He lying in the sunshine, watching the squirrels and birds and listening the the birds chirp. How can I do this to poor Jontel?

  2. Hi there i was hoping this article would have some sort of hope for FIP. About two months ago me and my husband got a beautiful little boy that was two months old and brought him home last week i noticed he had diareah i just asumed he ate something that didint agree with him a few days later i notice his stomach growing practicaly over night hes not an over eater whatsoever i diceded to do research from his symptoms looked like it was either wormz or wet FIP so i brought him to be dewormed snd his condition only worsend.. so i brought him back for blood work and a abdomen fluid ssample.. The vet told me that it is probably FIP.. She gave me some steroids to help his appetite.. Its not working sadly so i will up his dosage to a full pill.. But his belly is getting so big thay he can hardly get onto anything.. Hes lethargic he used to be an amazingly talkative cat and it dispeared withing a day of his bloaty belly.. Yesterday he was ttying to meow but it was silent.. Today no sound or attempt.. And he even urinated on himself because it too hard to sit up anymore.. Hes only 4months old.. Such a short life he.doesnt deserve this horrible disease.. He is am amzing kitten i am also 8 months pregnNt and i am extremely devistsade he wont live long enough to meet his little sister i know he would have taken care of her.. He used to sleep around my belly to keep her warm at night.. I know he wont last past a week from now… Its so difficult to deal with such a little soul made such anhuge imapact on me.and my husbands life.. I wish i knew when it was his timeso we could make his transition easy and painless.. i hate this disease.. No animal deerves this death sentence..

  3. Hi Ingrid,
    im a breeder and Ive just been devestated to find out that 2 of the kittens I sold had coronavirus, but this was only diagnosed after i had sold the kittens. I had no knowledge of this virus. I was only told tonigh that one of the kittens had just died of FIP. I feel absolutely rotten right now. Ive got a kitten I kept from the litter and had him tested, he is positive to coronavirus. Im now terrified that Im going to loose my little boy. My boy is showing no classic symptons that go with FIP. How will I know if hes in the clear or if it will mutate……….Im so sad right now after hearing this news. I know the other person is blaming me for this, but I honestly didnt know as Im a new breeder and still learning alot myself. Whats your advice as I feel responsible for this

    • I’m so sorry about your kittens, Rachael. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing if/when the virus will mutate. Not all cats who carry the virus will develop FIP. Here’s a good overview of FIP: I hope it helps. All my best to you and your kitten!

  4. I’m reading your article with tears in my eyes. We got an amazing, beautiful Maine Coon kitten from a local cattery. The cattery was dirty and poorly run. Adult cats and kittens used the same litter boxes and ate from the same dirty dishes. We only got to love our kitten for 3 months. Both of his eyes were infected when we picked him up. The breeder said he would have loose stool, because of the transition from mothers milk to cat food. Poor Jim never had a chance. After many trips ($$) and tests ($$) it was determined that he had FIP. We lost our little darling on Tuesday. Should I report this breeder to the CFA? I called the breeder and left a message (with tears in my voice) about what happened, on the advice of the vet. I don’t want anyone else to go thru this heartbreak. No reply from breeder.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Robin. I would report this breeder. It may prevent someone else from experiencing the same heartbreak you went through.

  5. You can hear the participants of the Winn Feline Symposium, Dr. Al Legendre and Dr. Niels Pedersen,

  6. Obi has passed today and I want to say to all who doubt whether to give euthanasia or not, I was glad I did it. I could see she was getting worse this morning and I was relieved when she passed, knowing she had no more discomfort and she was free to move on. It was very hard to sit by her, but it was also the right decision for me. I was glad to be with her all the way. She passed peacefully. As I left the clinic, I bought a little mouse toy and kept her old mouse toy as well, because I know I will find her again in a new cat body; until then her spirit is free and here with me. I wish you peace to all who go through such an ordeal and I hope you all feel your pets are and will always be there for you, even after death, if you so choose to find them and have them again. Obi´s light, love and strength has opened my heart and changed my life in ways I never thought possible and I will keep her in my heart, until I meet her again…Blessings to all of you in similar situations! You are not alone.

    • I’m glad that Obi had a peaceful passage. It sounds like she had a huge impact on your life in just the much too short time she was with you. She’ll never be far from you – the love lives on. You’re in my thoughts.

  7. I just woke up to an horrible day, the day after I took my beloved 1-year-old Obi to the vet as she was getting more and more bloated. My life has been devastated after I heard those 3 words yesterday. I live alone and she has been my joy and companion. She has been spoiled from day one and loved so dearly. She has been my first cat and introduced me to the wonderful world of feline companionship. Never in a million years had I imagined I would sit here today, having to decide when to give her euthanasia. I can not express the amount of grief I feel, but even if she is still eating and being relatively comfortable, I do not know how long I can bear delaying this decision. The only comfort left for me is to know she will come back and I will find her again in another cat’s eyes. Thank you for posting this article which gave me links to where I could send donations. It is horrible how cats are so underrated by society in general: they are truly the most special precious companion one can have. It’s also a comfort to read your stories and share in your
    grief. It will be so hard to be there to wish Obi a good journey to the other side and I can’t wait for her to make her way back to me again.

    • Oh Valentina, I’m so sorry! FIP is such a horrible disease. My heart goes out to you. Making the euthanasia decision is agonizing, but it’s especially difficult when its’ such a young cat. I wish you strength and peace as you spend this remaining time with Obi, and wish her a gentle journey.

      Perhaps some of the pet loss resources on this site may help you know that you’re not alone during this difficult time.

      • Thank you Ingrid! I already feel not alone, thanks to all of you and our wonderful pets, who teach us so much about love!

  8. I found this site searching for a reputable place that could help me decide where to send a donation for FIP research.

    We just this morning lost Miagi, a kitten not even 5 months old, after she was tentatively diagnosed Friday, just 5 days ago. Monday’s visit with the vet pretty much sealed the diagnosis – failure to reduce temperature with antibiotics, weight loss, belly more and more bloated, blood work showing an albumin:globulin ratio of .3, anemic, abdomen fluid yellowish and filled with proteins, and more – textbook.

    We had her just 6 weeks, if that, but she already made such an impression on our household. I am now crossing everything that her “sister”, a week younger kitten from the same shelter but different cages, will be fine.

    Such an awful, awful disease. I am going to ask as many of my animal-loving friends, whether they have cats or not (and most do) to donate whatever they can in hopes of preventing this from happening to any more beloved felines 🙁

    • Jordana, I’m so sorry about Miagi. It’s such a devastating disease. Thank you for asking others to support research. I can’t think of a better way to honor Miagi’s memory.

  9. Steven – I am so sorry your cat was diagnosed with FIP. But from the sound of it – that may, or may not be case. If your kitten is responding to antibiotics favorably….which is the way I read it – your cat is less likely to have FIP, a disease which being a virus will not respond to antibiotics.

    I assume your veterinarian said dry FIP.

    You can listen to the Winn Feline Foundation Symposium on FIP given by 2 of the top experts on the planet,

    The corona virus mutates within the body to cause FIP (no one knows exactly why). The enteric feline corona virus, which causes FIP is quite contagious. Very. However, once FIP occurs – this virus never leaves your cat’s body in a any way, and is therefore not contagious. It’s not possible to get FIP from your cat. However, with the corona virus occurring in your home, all your can do is to insure the litter boxes are kept very clean and hope for the best. The virus is so ubiquitous, it would be difficult to seal off. Perhaps, impossible.

    My best for your kitty. i will say you can’t get a better education than listening to Dr. Legendre and Dr. Pedersen. If it is dry FIP, consider using PI – which your veterinarian will soon be able to acquire.

  10. Steven, are you positive the vet meant FIP? The reason I ask is FCV are actually the initials for feline caliciviirus. FCoV are the initials for feline coronavirus. The test that is run is only an antibody titer for the coronavirus, there is no test that specificalay diagnoses FIP. It probably wouldnt be uncommon for a cat to have calicivirus especially if it took up with ferals. Feline calicivirus, is not normally deadly. If its truly FIP your vet is referring to, another way to possibly help “diagnose” FIP is looking at the a/g ratio (albumin/globulin ratio) and also the total protein. If your vet ran labwork and suspects FIP, that should be something they would also check. Dr Addie’s site has a wealth of information. FIP, especially the dry form can be very insidious and hard to diagnose. I would think if that cat is acting better that perhaps its not FIP, if it was truly FIP and active, I sort of doubt the cat would be getting better. Prayers that it doesnt have FIP. This is the link to Dr Addie’s site:

    • Steven, that’s good advice from Stephanie and Sandra – thanks to both of you for jumping into the discussion here. I’m going to add that if you have access to veterinary specialists in your area, I’d consider getting a second opinion from someone who is boarded in internal medicine.

      Please keep us posted about how your kitty is doing.

  11. Imagine my shock when I opened your e-mail so I could ask what you know about FIP only to find your article on it. I had never heard of it, but just to hear the vet say the letters was enough to send a chill down my back. A neighbor had turned a cat out so it took up with the feral cats I care for. He would follow me around all day and each time I sat down he would jump in my lap and just love me. I have never seen such a sweet, loving cat. About 2 weeks ago I found him under a bush sick. I took him to the vet who said he had a high fever a was dehydrated. The test showed positive for FCV(IFA), probably FIP. He was given fluids and put on Doxycycline. Two days latter he was given Dexamethasone. I gave him Pepcid-Ac & fed him baby food. Now he eats everything I put in front of him. I have kept him away from my indoor cats because I don’t want to endander them. One vet says they can’t get it. Another says they can. All agree coronavirus is contagious, from which FIP comes from. So, can’t my cats catch coronavirus, then FIP? I love this cat, and can’t keep him in one room the rest of his life. Yet, if I put him back outside in this heat it will probably be a death warrant for him. I love him too much for that. What is to be done? Its so confusing. Maybe he doesn’t even have FIP.

    • Steven, if the kitty has FIP, sad to say, the “rest of his life” won’t be that long. So definitely keep him in a separate room, and if he will eat on his own, that’s great. As you say, it may not be FIP. If he improves, then you can consider what else it may be and move on from there. Ingrid can probably make more suggestions.

      Bless you for taking the kitty in!

    • I’m sorry about your kitty, Steven. FIP is not contagious, but the corona virus is. The corona virus in itself is a common virus in cats, and cats may not even show symptoms other than perhaps a mild gastrointestinal upset. But for reasons that have eluded researchers so far, in some cats, the benign virus mutates into a highly infectious version that then causes FIP.

      A definitive diagnosis for the dry form of FIP can be very difficult, even a positive FIP test doesn’t necessarily mean a cat has FIP. So yes, it’s entirely possible that he doesn’t have FIP.

      I wish I could tell you what to do – it probably comes down to making a decision that you’re comfortable with. Everyone’s level of risk tolerance is different.

    • Steven, please read my post date June 27th, 2011. Corona virus lives in the environment. So you can not protect your cats against it. It is on the doors, windows, screens and so on. You can bring it in on your clothes as well. After talking to several vets in Denver, cat specialists, I am more calm about the disease. If he is getting better then he probably contracted the corona virus. Yes it can mutate and turn into FIP. However, it might not. It generally attacks young cats and elderly cats. Whether you believe it or not you have already exposed your cats to the virus. If the immune system is good and you are using a high quality cat food that boosts the immune system and it is high in protein….then I wouldn’t worry too much. My kitten is now one year old and he is healthy and not showing any signs of any problems. So, it is not always fatal. Some cats live into old age with the corona virus. Some cats can be carrier of the FIP virus and it never manifests. So, before you throw the cat outside and before you believe the worse (like I did), do some reading on corona virus in cats. Call Cornell University…they are the best hospital in the country that deals with cat viruses. I was also told that in order to make sure it is 100% FIP, many tests must be done over several months. It could be a false positive because the test that is run, from what the vet tech told me at Cornell is not 100% positive for FIP, it could just be the corona virus. Please check it out further before you give this kitty a death sentence. I felt like you and was so scared that my cats would get it, well the kitten had already been in the house with all my cats so oh well, at least I can give him a good home and if he did give it to the rest of my cats, they will all get the special treatment they deserve and if they get sick, I will put them down. Not to be callous but there are so many cats out there that need homes and if I can give one that is sick a little extra time in a nice and clean environment then I am going to continue to do it. If you want to talk further send me an email or post something here.

  12. I’ve got Frankie, a 1 and a half year old gorgeous flame-point siamese that was diagnosed yesterday with FIP. We are going to let him go today and I am devastated – he is an awesome cat with an amazing personality…. just so hard to fathom… I hope that a cure is found soon or at the very least a vaccine that will prevent this from harming our loving animals.

      • THank you Ingrid – the local humane society euthanized him today, they asked if they could perform a necropsy on him and I said that would be fine – hopefully Frankie can help with further research and a cure so no one else or any more cats will have to go through this pain.

  13. Dr Legendre was my mentor in vet school. I too, have lost a cat of my own (RIP sweet Jake) and many patients to FIP. This is a devastating disease and when I work with rescues groups, is the worst disease I deal with. I too agree that if it were a dog disease, we’d know just how to diagnose and treat it. Cats are often second class citizens in veterinary medicine, but certainly not in my practice or my world!! However, I am just so thankful to my professor and the other researchers that are working hard on this disease. It is a long time coming, but there is actually quite a bit more known today that is known than when I graduated from vet school in 2002. Education and awareness is key to get the word out so that more funding may be made available. I encourage everyone to talk to their cat friends and anyone who will listen and cares and tell them what they can do to help. I look forward to the day when I never again have to look a family in the face and tell them that their kitten is going to die of this awful disease.

    • I’m so sorry about Jake, Dr. Hartley-Lock. I’m glad to hear that cats are not second-class citizens in your practice. It must have been amazing to have a mentor like Dr. Legendre.

  14. This is such a horrible disease, I hope that someday there is a cure for it. Our rescue group took in a stray mumma cat and her kittens a few months ago. The lovely kittens were 4-5 weeks old and mumma was so friendly and grateful for being cared for. A month later, all four kittens were seriously ill with FIP although their mumma remained well. After consulting with two vets, who said Mumma was likely the source of the virus, we had to euthanise them all. We couldn’t adopt Mumma out to anyone if she was a carrier and could become ill herself in the future, or chance passing the virus to other cats. We didn’t think it fair to keep her in a quarantine enclosure for the rest of her life. It was such an awful thing, I can’t imagine how hard it would be for a cat owner to deal with in their own pet.

  15. I acquired a kitten age 3 weeks from my Vet and hand raised him. He was healthy and strong. At about 6 months, he became very sick with diarrhea and was not real respondent to touch, voice or much of anything. Took him in, my Vet kept him for about a week. They did a bunch of tests and couldn’t find anything. The tech forgot she had sent off blood work to check for FIP and a couple other diseases. My cat came home on the 7th day and he was fine. He was back to eating, no diarrhea and was his old playful self. About 1 month later, I was at my Vet’s office and the tech asked me what i was going to do with the cat. I asked her why she would say that. I am going to keep looking for a home for him. Well, didn’t the Vet tell you and I said tell me what and she said, your kitty is positive for FIP. I said no he didn’t tell me and what are you talking about. Well, I went nuts. I just spent 6 months hand raising this little guy. How could he have FIP. Well as I have researched it and talked to folks at Cornell and CSU, I have found out that just because the test is Pos for FIP, does not mean they have FIP yet. The Coronavirus can be just as deadly as FIP itself. There is no test to distinguish between FIP and Corona that I am aware of. When I spoke to Cornell, the vet told me that cats that have boosted immune systems have a better chance of the disease not mutating to FIP. My cat eats a food that is all natural and more protein based and full of antioxidants and probiotics. Tangy is now 1 year old and is healthier then a horse. This is not to say that he is safe by any means but for now he is doing great. I have seven other cats in the house and everyone is doing fine. There is a lot they don’t know about cats and diseases. More money does need to go to research for cats and not dogs for a change.

    • You’re absolutely right, Stephanie, the FIP test is not conclusive. I’m glad Tangy is doing well, and I wish you all the best for continued good health for all your kitties!

  16. Thanks for talking about Parker in the article, Ingrid. I hope that some day FIP will have a cure. RIP Parker, Penney, Paris and Piper (All of Parker’s littermates).

    • For Parker, and all the others lost to this terrible disease, I, too, hope that some day, there will be a cure, Rachel.

  17. Ingrid, to add a short summary of the results presented by Dr. L. on PI. PI use led to the extension of life by all stat methods over placebo or known treatment and improvement of wellbeing. Significant numbers of cats clear 9 months alive and happy.

    One needs to compare stats to make sense: right now, median survival (Kaplan-Meier method) on PI is 49 days, right-censored (meaning that many cats are still alive and have cleared 6 months bar). The longest survivor on PI is over 5 years and is still alive, many are over 1 year. This needs to be compared to 8-9 days median survival of wet (1 dry) FIP cats without or on interferon, respectively (Ritz) and to max survival of 43 days for dry FIP with one of 45 cats surviving for 477 days on interferon and antiviral (Tsai).

  18. Excellent summary of the Event, Ingrid. I lost more than my fair share to FIP. It is so important to be aware of this disease as earilier diagnosis the earlier the treatment can begin.

  19. OK, I have to admit at being disappointed. I had heard about this symposium and when it was advertised it had said that there would maybe be some new information announced regarding some of their research findings. I really dont see anything they said that adds much more to anything that was already known? This is so frustrating. I understand these Drs are doing what they can do, I just wish they had more funds and more help. To this day, there still isnt even a real accurate way to diagnose it. Dry FIP is way more insidious than wet FIP and both can be challenging to diagnose. Even a more accurate way of diagnosing the disease would be a huge help to vets and owners.

    • Sandra, I think the researchers are probably just as frustrated as you are that there’s not more dramatic progress, but all they can do is keep working at trying to find a cure, or at the very least, a treatment that prolongs affected cats’ lives.

  20. I have had two kittens from the same mother die of dry FIP in my home with other kittens and cats around, touching them occasionally, no quarantine measures at all, and none of them got FIP. This has been a couple of years now with all of them still fine. Everything I have read and heard about FIP (and I research everything I can about it) says it is not contagious. I don’t know where you heard about waiting 6-8 weeks, but I have never even heard of a case where FIP was transferred to another kitten or cat. I’m on Fanciers Health and have been, since before PI became available to very many people and their cats, and still no reports of contagious FIP. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings about FIP. Coronavirus is contagious but it is just like our common cold, hardly noticed by the cat. FIP is a mutated form, and is NOT contagious.

    • Susan, thank you for this clarification. It is one of the biggest misunderstandings about FIP. We simply don’t know why the virus mutates in some cats, but not in others.

      • I replied this answer to someone else and thought you may like to read it too.

        I am aware that FIP is not contagious, but coronavirus is. Also according to the link you included with your post “Any cat that carries any coronavirus is potentially at risk for developing FIP”. Which means my cat at home most likely has coronavirus and at some point could turn into FIP. That also means that any cat I expose to my cat would most likely get coronavirus and that could also turn into FIP.

        I don’t know about anyone else out there that has lost a cat to FIP, but my experience was horrible and I do not ever want to go though it again, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure I am not the cause of another animals suffering.

  21. Ingrid,
    A fabulous overview. FIP must come out of the closet, to help we need to talk about and listen to experts like Dr. Legendre and Dr. Pedersen talk (and adhere to their advice would be nice).

    I have enjoyed many honors in my career – being a part of the Winn Feline Foundation, and hosting this event – not to mention being the emcee…I was thrilled to introduce two rock stars in veterinary medicine. And seeing Susan Gingrich, who began the Bria Fund to support research with Winn. Susan and her army are working wonders to raise money, and that’s why we’re seeing some movement.

    For the first time, EVER, there’s a glimmer of hope. Thank you so much for caring Ingrid. As for the comments here – I know. I lost a kitty to FIP as well – this is one reason why I am so passionate…we need everyone’s help. To those who lost little babies – I am sorry…but I am here to make a difference, I promise!
    Steve Dale

    • Thank you for everything you do to keep awareness about FIP in the public’s eye, Steve. You are making a difference!

  22. My Havana Brown died of FIP when he was 12 months old. He was diagnosed by Dr. Legendre no less and had the best of care. 100% fatal, any cat, any time ALWAYS. They are the three worst letters that can be placed in a row. FIP is a monster. I still cry every day and my Chance died 6 months ago. When he died I made the statement that if this were a dog disease it would have been cured by now. Please find a cure. Too many sweet innocent lives have been lost and too many families have been ripped apart!

    • I’m so sorry about Chance, Steve. Losing a cat is always hard, but it’s especially devastating when they’re so young.

  23. When Kira, my Russian Blue, was diagnosed with FIP in 2002, I researched the hell out of the disease. One thing I did learn was that it is not contagious — Kira was with our other cats until we had to have her euthanized (it was only a couple of weeks) and they never showed any signs of the disease. So if that’s any comfort, Katie, you can probably add another kitty without fear of FIP.
    I did consult with my holistic veterinarian and he prescribed immune stimulants, which if I understand Dr. Legendre correctly, might be in the same vein. I wish I could understand more behind the medicalese.
    And yes, I agree with Steve if it had been a dog-related disease, it would have been cured by now.

    • Sally, I’ve seen advice to wait before bringing another cat into a home where a cat has died from FIP ranging from 6-8 weeks to 6 months. The corona virus can live in the environment for several weeks, but the virus in itself does not cause FIP. It’s only when the virus mutates (and we don’t know why it does) that it causes the disease.

  24. I’m glad to hear that someone is working on this horrible disease. I just lost my 9 month old kitten Zoey. I was only able to keep her for a week after the diagnoses. I have another cat that is a little bit older but he shows no signs of being ill. Because of FIP I will have to wait until my current cat lives out his days before I can get another, the risk of giving anther cat FIP is just too great on it and me.

    • Katie, FIP is NOT contagious. It is the mild corona virus that is contagious. Once the virus mutated within Zoey’s body, it was no longer contagious.

      I too lost a young kitty to FIP, all the other cats are fine 2 years later. Please read the research at

      I share your pain with losing Zoey – but it is ok for you to get another kitty. Hopefully this new research will find treatments and even a cure for this horrible disease!

      • I’m sorry for your losses, Lee, and thank you for clarifying. There’s a lot of confusing information about this issue out there.

      • Lee,
        I am aware that FIP is not contagious, but coronavirus is. Also according to the link you included with your post “Any cat that carries any coronavirus is potentially at risk for developing FIP”. Which means my cat at home most likely has coronavirus and at some point could turn into FIP. That also means that any cat I expose to my cat would most likely get coronavirus and that could also turn into FIP.

        I don’t know about anyone else out there that has lost a cat to FIP, but my experience was horrible and I do not ever want to go though it again, and I am going to do everything I can to make sure I am not the cause of another animals suffering.

        • Katie, I completely understand your concerns after what you went through with Zoey. Losing a cat is always hard, losing a young cat is simply devastating. Each individual is going to have to make the decision they’re comfortable with when it comes to getting another cat.

          I would imagine that for anyone who has lost a cat to FIP, this is probably more an emotional decision rather than one based on science and probabilities.

          • I don’t see how it is an emotional decision. It comes down to are you willing to get a new cat that could suffer and die. Are you willing to take that risk, or better yet are you willing to put a cats life in danger just becuse it may not get FIP?

  25. Thank you for posting this. I lost a kitty to FIP several years ago and I keep hoping that something will happen.

  26. FIP is a horrible disease. My cat Hunter was a strong and healthy young cat, probably only 2 years old, not a kitten, we have no idea how or why he got FIP.
    He lived 5 months after diagnosis and was treated with Prednisone until it did not help any longer. It’s supposed to be very contagious, but our other cat who was bonded with Hunter at the time, is still doing fine, has tested negative, and that was 9 years ago.
    FIP breaks all the rules and there is literally nothing one can do about it, leaves you totally helpless. I’m glad to hear that there is more research being done to hopefully save lives in the future.

    • FIP is not contagious….it is the Coronavirus that is contagious. The Coronavirus can produce a response within the cat that causes a mutation of some sort in SOME cats and it turns into FIP but not all cats with Coronavirus will develop FIP. Cats living with a FIP cat don’t catch FIP but can catch the coronavirus ,which in turn, IF the cat has the mutation take place within their body will develop FIP. UHG!!! Almost impossible to find a cat these days that is coronavirus free….expensive to test….not always reliable even if the test comes back negative…no way to know which cats are at risk for FIP… A very viscous circle!!!

      • Since the corona virus is very stable in the environment, it can be contagious for up to several months. You’re right, Deb, it is a viscious circle.

  27. It really kills me that if this was a dog disease, as Steve Dale said, it would be cured by now. I’m disgusted that the percent spent on treatments and studies for cat wellness are minute compared to that of dogs. it’s not right.

    FIP is a nightmare. I’m still getting over hearing my vet say “maybe it’s FIP” about an entire litter of kittens I rescued last year. They are all FINE. Sadly another cat I know who was just a few years old, was just as fine one day, then died a few days later from this disease-seemingly out of the blue. I hope some REAL progress is made SOON on better diagnostic techniques and treatment.

    Thank you for sharing this information with us and for writing so eloquently.

    • Robin, it’s also not helping that FIP research is not a model for human research and therefore doesn’t receive any support from NIH. The dollars it takes to fund a single study are staggering, the amount that was mentioned last night was between $300 and 400K a year.

      • I am not so sure about that. My father is currently very unwell with a syndrome in which he is producing extremely high antibodies (to something) but despite best medical pathology for the past two years has not been able to be given a diagnosis. They know his immune system is fighting something, and its becoming exhausted, but they just don’t know what. Hes not the only case like this either. My comment to my mother, its like FIP for humans…….

        • Michele, I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually they found a link between FIP and something on the human side. Best wishes to your father.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *