Coronavirus causing cat FIP and coronavirus causing human Covid-19 distinguished

Currently, there is tendency, because of the plethora of information and news online about the coronavirus pandemic, to blur the boundaries between a long standing feline disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) and Covid-19 which infects people but which came from wild animals (probably bats). It is confusing to laypeople, I have to admit.

Novel Coronavirus

In public domain


This is also called feline enteric coronavirus (FeCV). It has been around for a long time and everyone involved in the cat world knows about it or has heard of it. It is a common disease in wild and domestic cats and it is caused by a member of the coronavirus group.

Note the word ‘group’. There is more than one species of coronavirus. In domestic cats this coronavirus infection causes no symptoms in 75% of cases. In 24% of cats the symptoms are mild (looks a like a cold) and in 1% the infection is fatal and the disease they have is called FIP. FIP is NOT zoonotic (transmittable between animals and people). Covid-19 is transmittable from wild animals to people (the reverse direction is unknown at the moment).

It appears that the coronavirus causing this mutates from a benign variant to a killer. International Cat Care state that FeCV is an alpha-coronavirus whereas Covid-19 is caused by a beta-coronavirus.

Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue provided some interesting information on what appears to be another variant of the coronavirus affecting cats, this time wild cats. They refer to feline leukomyelopathy (FLM) causing neurological problems in Florida panthers.

The statement is reproduced below.

BCR report on a coronavirus infection rescued wild cats

BCR report on a coronavirus infection rescued wild cats

Boris Johnson – UK Prime Minister

Johnson has gone to hospital as he has been suffering from Covid-19 for ten days (at 6th April). He can’t shift the symptoms. Referring to FIP above we see the variation in the degree of severity of a coronavirus infection. I am fearful that Johnson will die because he may have a mutated version of the virus inside him of the fatal kind.


The word ‘mutation’ scares me. If this new (novel) coronavirus which we call Covid-19 and which is also called SARS-Cov-2 mutates it will be very hard to stop.

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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