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Is FIP Contagious: How Is FIP Transmitted?

Is FIP contagious? While not as contagious as some other feline diseases, FIP is still an infectious virus and every cat owner should be aware of the potential risks.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is generally considered to be less contagious than some other common feline infectious diseases

In comparison to other infectious diseases that cats may be vulnerable to, FIP has a lower likelihood of transmission. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is caused by infection with feline coronavirus (FCoV).

While this virus is contagious and can spread from cat to cat, it is generally considered to be less contagious than those related to upper respiratory infections or the particularly deadly panleukopenia.

It should also be noted that FIP does not affect all cats even when exposed; factors like age, breed, genetics, stress levels and a number of others influence how likely they are prone to developing the disease after exposure.

Types of FIP Viruses

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is caused by two distinct viruses, the feline enteric coronavirus (FECV), and the feline coronavirus type 2 (FCoV).


Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a highly infectious virus associated with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). It can be shed in the feces of infected cats, and transmission mostly occurs through direct contact with these secretions or surfaces containing them.

This makes it ripe for spread via fomite transmission, or the transfer of microbes between surfaces and fingers to mouths. To reduce your cat’s vulnerability to infection from FCoV, practice good hygiene habits at all times.

Whenever possible, try to minimize stress levels as well – keep multiple cats in separate rooms if needed – since studies have found that cats under higher levels of stress are more likely to catch diseases like FIP due to their compromised immune system status.


Feline coronavirus, commonly referred to as FCoV, is an infectious viral pathogen belonging to the family of Coronaviridae. Although FCoV is a relatively common cause of mild and self-limiting gastrointestinal illness in cats, it can be shed intermittently by infected cats over several months or even years.

The virus has a low species specificity which means that other animals, such as dogs or wild animals, may also be susceptible to infection from this virus.

FCoV is most often spread through direct contact between two cats with the symptomless carrier passing on the disease unknowingly to another cat. The virus can also enter indirectly through contaminated objects such as food and water dishes or toys shared among multiple cats living under one roof.

It’s even possible for breathing space particles like fur dander and respiratory fluids containing high amounts of virus particles to spread contagious agents if inhaled by surrounding felines.


Here is a general comparison of FIP’s contagiousness to some other infectious diseases in cats:

FIP is considered generally less contagious than panleukopenia, upper respiratory infections, FIV and FeLV.

Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)

Feline Panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, is a contageous viral infection in cats caused by the feline Parvovirus. It mainly affects kittens and unvaccinated cats but is capable of infecting all ages and breeds of felines.

The virus is present in all excretions, particularly faeces, which means that it can be passed from cat to cat through direct or indirect contact very easily.

Clinical signs vary depending on the strain of the virus and the age of the affected cat; however symptoms may include: fever or low temperature, lethargy/depression, loss of appetite and vomiting with diarrhea containing blood being common indicators for FPlV infections.

In some cases it can even be fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated immediately. This condition should not be confused with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), although they share similar symptoms they are two different viruses that affect cats differently.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are the most common infectious disease in cats. As with other diseases, URIs can be caused by a number of viruses and bacteria, including calicivirus, herpesvirus, adenovirus, Bordetella bronchiseptica and Chlamydophila felis.

Symptoms may include sneezing or coughing; nasal congestion or discharge; eye redness or discharge; lack of appetite; fever; lethargy; ulceration in the mouth and throat areas and dehydration.

Although rarer than other upper respiratory infections, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is also sometimes associated with this infection though it does not cause any symptoms itself.

The most common way cats contract an upper respiratory infection is through contact with another infected cat either directly or indirectly – for example grooming each other while playing or sharing food bowls/bedding – however airborne transmission from contaminated objects such as wind-blown dust particles carrying the infective agent can occur too.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

These are two retroviruses that attack cat cells involved in the immune response, making cats more susceptible to other infections. FIV is most commonly spread through deep bite wounds, while FeLV is mainly transmitted from mother-to-kitten or through saliva and nasal secretions.

Both viruses can cause a decrease in immunity leading to an increased risk for persistent and recurring opportunistic infections such asS kinneria turicensis, Bartonella henselae, Stomatitis Virus (FHV) andcalисilitis.

They are both known for causing immunodeficiency syndrome (similar to HIV/Aids in humans), which decreases cats’ natural immunity against diseases like cancer and bacterial illnesses.


How is FIP transmitted?

FIP is typically spread through direct contact, indirect contact, fecal-oral route, and respiratory droplets. Learn more to better understand how your cat can be affected and take precautions!

Direct Contact

Direct contact is the simplest and most common way that cats can contract FIP. Through direct contact, such as mutual grooming and sharing a food bowl or litter box, an infected cat can pass their virus directly to another.

Additionally, it could also be contacted through closer physical interactions like cuddling with owners who have recently been in contact with cats known to carry FCoV.

Another important factor is sneezed droplets spreading FCoV from one cat to another. Although this form of transmission is less common compared to other infections, it still remains as one of the ways for infection spread between animals.

It is therefore essential for pet owners to train their pets on proper hygiene habits and always pay close attention when snuggling with your kittens.

Indirect Contact

Indirect contact can play an important part in the transmission of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). This refers to contact with contaminated surfaces or objects that have been touched by an infected cat, known as fomites.

Fomites such as clothes, toys and grooming equipment can contaminate a cat’s fur and carry the virus for a short time before it is lost from these surfaces. As cats often groom themselves and other cats, they are at risk of infection through this means even if there has been no direct contact between them.

Not only may the virus be transmitted indirectly through contact with wet material such as water bowls, but dry materials like bedding can also act as a carrier if saliva or faeces containing particles has come in contact with any surface that is then touched by another cat.

Multi-cat households or crowded environments may be particularly prone to indirect transmission of the virus where there are many surfaces across which contamination could occur frequently.

Fecal-Oral Route

The fecal-oral route is one of the most common modes for FIP transmission in cats. Feline coronavirus (FCoV) can be found in infected cats’ saliva, but is primarily spread through contact with feces contaminated by an infected cat.

This type of transmission occurs when an uninfected cat consumes material that has come into contact with the virus-complex from a litterbox or other surface, such as food bowls and bedding.

Due to its communicable nature, crowded living conditions increase the risk of transmission due to high levels of fecal contamination. In multi-cat households, owners should separate their cats and provide them with individualized care and attention whenever possible.

This means giving each cat his or her own litter box that provides easy access for cleaning out after use.

It’s also important to remember not only regular cleaning but disinfecting surfaces used by all cats in multi-cat households on a weekly basis to reduce the chance of transmission further still.

Respiratory Droplets

FIP is rarely spread through sneezed or coughed respiratory droplets. The virus can become airborne and contaminate the cat’s surrounding environment, but it requires close contact for transmission from one animal to another.

Those cats living in crowded conditions such as shelters or colonies are more at risk of contracting FIP in this way due to close proximity between animals.

When humans handle infectious cats they must practice good personal hygiene, especially when sneezing and coughing around other cats that have lower immunity levels and may be more prone to catching FIP.

Alternatively, by using effective disinfection techniques and regularly sterilizing areas exposed to infected material like bedding, dishes, waste materials etc., can also help reduce the spread of contagion.

Factors affecting how prone your cat is to FIP

Age, breed, living conditions, genetics, stress and immune system status can all influence the risk of FIP in cats.


Cats under two years old are most commonly affected by FIP, with around 80% of all cases appearing in cats within this age range. Kittens aged 4-12 months have the highest risk of contracting FIP; nearly half of all diagnosed cats fall into this age group.

Even younger kittens can still be vulnerable to virus transmission due to their undeveloped immune systems and susceptibility to environmental stressors.

In addition, certain breeds such as Siamese or Burmese cats may be more prone to FIP due to genetic disposition even though it is not determined solely by breed itself. Cheetahs also have a higher likelihood for developing Feline Infectious Peritonitis than other cat breeds due to a deficiency in their cellular immunity that makes them highly susceptible.


Owners of purebred cats need to be especially aware of their susceptibility to FIP. Purebreds are more likely than mixed breed cats to develop FIP due to genetic deficiency in their cellular immunity, and certain breeds such as cheetahs, Persians, Bengals and Scottish Fold are particularly prone.

This higher risk can be attributed partly to how these particular breeds have been developed through inbreeding practices with limited genetic diversity or accelerated breeding cycles, causing a heightened vulnerability for serious disease due to the increase in gene duplication present when homozygous pairs of genes occur together within individual animals.

Due largely this increased risk associated with purebreds, it is important for owners of these cats – as well as those caring for cats from other breeds – to understand their pet’s susceptibility so they can take appropriate precautions and manage their health more effectively.

Vaccinating your cat against common infectious diseases like Feline Distemper or Upper Respiratory Infections will reduce the chance of them getting infected; tailoring dietary needs according resilience levels,texercise based on physical characteristics; limiting exposure by keeping crowding situations under control etc.

Crowded living conditions

Crowded living conditions can have a huge impact on cats and their health. Crowding brings additional stress to cats, which can be harmful as it weakens the immune system over time and increases the likelihood of catching or transmitting infection, including Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).

Stress is especially hazardous in young kittens who may not have established optimal immunity yet. In addition to psychological consequences brought about by overcrowding, the physical proximity among individuals can facilitate direct transmission between cats via saliva through licking or coughing up of contaminated respiratory secretions.

Moreover, indirect contact with infectious material such as feces from an infected cat onto food dishes or scratching posts that are subsequently used by uninfected cats increase the risk for further spread of FIP in a crowded environment like shelters and catteries.

Therefore, having ample space for your pet cat(s) is paramount when it comes to improving its overall wellbeing coupled with increasing its resistance against common ailment including FIP infection.


Genetics play a role in Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) and can become important indicators in determining its spread. Studies have indicated that male cats are more frequently affected than female cats, highlighting the potential influence of gender on FIP development and infection risk.

Birman cats, for example, have been strongly associated with certain genetic factors related to FIP. Cats of both purebred and random-bred backgrounds may be susceptible to contracted the virus through the coronavirus or transmission from another affected cat but those who possess genes sometimes exhibited within specific breeds may pass their higher risk onto offspring.

When it comes to breeding if one parent is infected with an appropriate type of viral virus such as feline enteric coronavirus (FeCV), kittens could potentially receive a strand which can later cause them to develop into FIP even without contact with other infected animals.

Unfortunately as this transference occurs at conception there is little chance of inhibiting any damage done by an inherited gene leading owners towards considering alternate means when it comes to keeping your pet safe against these kinds of diseases.


As cat owners, it’s important to be aware that stress can contribute to the development of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). When cats are stressed due to re-homing, recent surgery, or concurrent infections their immune response is compromised and they become more prone to contracting FIP.

In a crowded living environment with multiple cats in close proximity, levels of stress can rise quickly which further weakens immunity and increases susceptibility for FIP infection.

There are measures that can be taken as responsible cat parents to reduce the risk of your pet developing FIP: make sure peaceful family members have adequate space away from each other so there’s no competition over resources; create a reliable daily routine – this helps keep stress at bay; provide plenty of enriching activities such as scratching posts and toys – not only do these keep cats active physically but mentally too; offer regular rewards such as treats/kibble in order to show appreciation between individuals.

Finally, make sure you engage with your pet regularly – providing love and attention fosters bond which reduces feeling of abandonment resulting in fewer concerns manifesting into stress symptoms.

Immune system status

Cat immunity plays an important role in the development of FIP. Cats with weakened immune systems are more likely to contract this virus, while those with strong, functioning immune systems may have natural resistance.

Age is a factor that affects a cat’s immunity and risk of developing FIP as older cats generally have weaker immunities when compared to younger felines; thus, increasing their susceptibility.

Certain breeds also come with varying amounts of inherent strength against disease-causing agents such as FIP. Purebred cats are often genetically predisposed to certain illnesses, including FIP; however some domestic cats may be resistant due to genetics too.

Stress can also lower immunity making it harder for a kitty’s body fight off infections like feline infectious peritonitis; what might seem minor inconveniences or changes could greatly upset household routines and trigger reliese in your furrbaby’s immunity defense system which can leave them vulnerable.

Even Cheetah’s kept in captivity have been found subject to FIP from a genetic deficiency inhibiting specific components of their cellular immunity leaving them highly susceptible.


Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is generally not considered to be a highly contagious disease, though it can be spread through contact with feces and respiratory transmission. Good hygiene practices are important in reducing the risk of FIP while stress reduction for cats is also key in preventing the virus from mutating.

While FIP isn’t as common or easy to spread like other cat diseases, it’s still something worth taking into consideration for all pet owners who want an understanding about the infection and its potential risks.

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