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FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)

What is FIP?

FIP is a mutation of the Coronavirus. Coronavirus is present in 90% of cats and 90% of multi cat households.

It is caught easier than a human catching a cold.

For example, if you pick a cat up who has corona virus (FCOV) you would not know, just say that cat had a tiny bit of faeces on his back leg and this transferred onto your clothing. You then pick up one of your own cats and it ingests the faeces, yes its that simple.

Cat then uses the litter box and sheds the virus. One of your other cats use the tray and picks up the virus and so on and so forth.

Most cats will never show any symptoms. Corona virus in itself is NOT harmful.

A few years ago, figures showed that it was very common in young male kittens that had been neutered within the last few months, however, it is not subject to one sex more than the other now.

It does tend to be kittens or old cats that are more susceptible. As stated on the buyer beware page, if you visit a breeder and you don't like the conditions, or the kitten looks ill, walk away.

Stress is a big contributing factor in FIP as well as immunity and illness. Therefore, buying a kitten who is not well and moving it to a new home could potentially be a contributing factor.

FIP is a mutation of the corona virus. This can be caused by low immunity, illness and cats already having feline Leukaemia (FELV) 

FIP begins as one cell in the microphages (white blood cell) the mutation causes the white cells to completely destroy the red cells, meaning the cat could become anaemic.

There are two types of FIP. 'wet' and 'dry'

FIP symptoms can be very rapid and without warning.

Symptoms can be:

Rapid weight loss


refusing to eat

Severe diarrhoea


Very high temperature.


Wet FIP causes a build up of fluid in the abdomen and sometimes the chest. The cat along with the above symptoms could seem like they have a respiratory problem.

FIP is not a sign that your home is dirty. It is a sign that your kitten could have an immunity issue or underlying problem. It could also mean that there is a genetic immune deficiency in the lines and therefore if a breeder picks up on this, most will neuter the cats to prevent it happening again.

Please note Titer testing for corona/FIP can give false readings. Taking a cat to the vet is stressful, therefore the readings can be false.

Most cases of FIP can only be 100% determined through autopsy.

FIP is more common that you think. Here at Ragdoll Rescue, we feel it very important that FIP is talked about. It is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Please feel free to call us if you would like to talk about FIP.

Ragdoll Rescue are huge supporters of Dr Addie who is the leading FIP researcher at Glasgow University.