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How long is FIP contagious?

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Age: 6-12 months
Hi Marie. Here's my situation. Adopted Charlie in August 2010. On March 1, this year at 9 months, we had to put Charlie down suspecting FIP. My vet said I should probably wait 6 months before bringing in another kitten, but should be alright for an adult cat. I currently have 2 cats, Max & Abby. They aren't fond of each other and Max has always had buddies to keep him company. We lost Jerome & Murphy to CRF in June of last year and thus the addition of Charlie. Since losing Charlie, Max has become very depressed and needy. He sleeps alot which is different from when Charlie was with us and healthy. I've found 2 cats today that I would like to adopt. They are both male and 7 months old. My house has been bleached and washed down since Charlie left us. Is it safe after 2 months to bring in the new boys?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm sorry to hear of the unfortunate illnesses your kitties have been dealing with. I can't tell you how much I hate FIP. It is a nasty disease.

However, the good news is that I really don't think you need to wait for 6 months before getting new cats.

It is a little confusing to explain how cats get FIP, but hopefully this explanation will put your mind at ease.

FIP is caused by something called a coronavirus. When most cats come in contact with coronavirus they get some mild diarrhea for a day or two but that's it. However, there is a small percentage of cats whose immune systems don't handle coronavirus properly. This number is somewhere between 1 and 5 per cent of all cats. For these cats when they come in contact with coronavirus the immune system has a really hard time and they go on to get FIP. As you know, FIP is much more serious than simple diarrhea.

Now, here's the good news. Coronavirus has a really hard time existing in an environment. It can possibly live for a few days to a couple of weeks in fluid. But after that it dies quite easily.

What I usually advise my clients when they are in your situation is to wait for about 2 weeks before getting new cats. I usually recommend getting new litter boxes and feeding dishes just to be safe (but this probably doesn't even need to happen).

I hope that helps!

Enjoy your new kitties! And I hope Max enjoys having new buddies!


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks so much! I appreciate getting the extra advice. I am going to wait to talk to my vet on Monday about it. He's been my pets doctor since I was a kid so I do respect what he has to say. I just want Max to be a happy playful fellow again and I know these two cats I've found today will do the trick. We need some excitement back in our house after the year we've had!!! Thanks again!


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.