I have lost a cat with FIP - how soon can I get another cat? How long will my house remain contaminated with coronavirus?
Answer: FCoV is shed in the faeces, so the main area of contamination will be the litter tray, so clean and disinfect it thoroughly with a household bleach, such as Domestos, or Milton. Remember that microscopic particles of infected, dried up, litter could have been blown around the house or taken into other rooms on feet - so do a thorough vacuuming. FCoV can possibly survive up to 7 weeks in dried up faeces. FCoV is only shed in the saliva for a very few days at the beginning of infection, so it is unlikely your cat's food bowls will be contaminated, and I expect you would give them a good wash anyway. Thankfully, FCoV is a relatively fragile virus and if you follow this advice, it is unlikely that your house will be infected for more than a few days. However, my advice would be to wait perhaps a month before introducing a new cat.
All the above assumes you only had one cat - the one who died of FIP. If you have other cats, it is likely that they, too, will be infected and you might choose to test them for FCoV antibodies every 3-6 months, keep them in small groups according to their antibody titres, and only get a new cat when your remaining cats' antibody titres return to zero.
Remember to test the new cat for FCoV antibodies
too - you don't want to re-introduce the problem!
My cat has antibodies to feline coronavirus - can I still take him to cat shows?
Answer: Since 83% of cats at U.K. cat shows were found to have antibodies to FCoV, I don't see that one antibody positive cat more or less will make any difference!
I've just antibody tested
one of my girls she's come up again as >1280 which is what she
was last time we tested her ........
Answer: this means she's 75% likely to be shedding virus - so you'll need to use a stud with antibodies. It also means she'll give her kittens great maternally derived antibody, so although they will need to be isolated and early weaned, antibody from mum may well protect through to 6 weeks of age.
..... and she is now 15 months
old and calling - do I mate her? Do I spay her? I really don't know
what to do for the best. If she'd never been tested, I'd have blithely
gone ahead and mated her, but one of her siblings died in suspicious
circumstances (no PM unfortunately) so we did a titre count.
Answer: this is a very difficult choice, because
stress can push a cat over into FIP, and guess what - spaying, pregnancy
and even calling are all stressful! In addition, call suppressants,
like Ovarid, are immunosuppressive, and could precipitate FIP. Probably
pregnancy is least stressful of the options, but would you have
to take her far to mate? Travelling is stressful to cats. Have you
got a stud of your own? If you opt for spaying, could your vet set
aside a time apart from the rest of the routine surgery so that
she's in and out (home) within a few hours? Although we have no
actual evidence of its efficacy in FCoV infection,* it might be
useful to use a Feliway (feline pheromone) diffuser to reduce her
stress whatever you choose.
*The efficacy of Feliway has been shown to reduce the frequency of inappropriate urination around the house, which presumably indicates reduction in stress (Hunthausen, Veterinary Medicine, 95, 2, 151-155).
2000 Dr. Diane Addie