Recent death of older cat with FIP now new kitten in house

by Phyllis Martin
(Binghamton, NY)

My nine yr old cat was euthanized May 28, 2012 with FIP (wet).He was an indoor/outdoor cat who showed almost no signs of being ill until his abdomen filled with fluid.

I have another older cat (13) who is not sick. He was confined over winter (Dec, Jan) with the cat who died, but never did get sick while the cat who died was very sick, but I thought was cured (amoxycillin). I did separate the 13 yr old well cat from the sick cat.

Ironically, this was the first time I kept the cats indoors during winter. This was because I myself was seriously ill with pneumonia and could not maintain the water and food downstairs on the porch.

I have read extensively on FIP and it is not supposed to be contagious in late stage. My question is could the specific coronavirus that preceeded my 9 yr old's death be lurking in my home. I have disinfected all hard surfaces with bleach, but my FIP cat did stay in a room with carpet, and now the new kitten is in that same room. I am keeping her separate from my 13 yr old cat who was never sick. Not sharing litter box, not sharing water dish or any sharing. They have touched noses. I think the greatest concern might be with the room my FIP cat was in before he died, which is now (my bedroom) the room my kitten is in.

This kitten will be an indoor cat. My 13 yr old will remain an indoor/outdoor, but as of now, am keeping the two separate but this is tough on my older cat.

thank you for any help.

Phyllis Martin


First, let me send you my condolences for both the loss of your cat and for you being so ill. It’s not easy when our little critters rely on us and mustering the strength to care for them is sometimes difficult. At least you’ve recovered and are now providing a home to another little kitty.

It sounds like you have good handle on FIP and are pretty knowledgeable. You have done the correct thing by thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting with bleach on the hard surfaces.

However, hopefully you can put your mind at rest. The corona-virus was tested extensively in 2001 and it involved a test group of 155 cats in multiple homes by a pharmaceutical company and this research test lasted for almost seven years. I think it was Pfizer but I neglected to write that fact down and just made notes from a published paper in a veterinary medical journal...I wasn’t using a computer so much back then.

The findings were that the corona-virus did not survive being without a host for a maximum of seven weeks. So you are looking at two factors. (1) Did you get your kitty at least seven weeks after the demise of your sick cat? (2) The research study also showed that cats exposed to the virus that did not get ill but were still carriers could shed the virus for up to 18 months but remained healthy because the mutation did not happen.

It sounds like you were cautious with your 13 year old cat and didn’t let them share litter boxes or water/food dishes so there is no reason to believe that your healthy cat is anything but…healthy. And, after seven weeks, any corona-virus that was lurking in the carpet should be toast (dead).

Thank you for your question. I re-read my page on FIP and see that I hadn’t added this information and now I will do so. Enjoy both your senior cat and your kitty…my guess is that they both will be fine.

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