Feline Coronavirus Symptoms

Feline coronavirus is a virus that usually only produces very mild symptoms in cats. The coronavirus can lead to a condition in cats known as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), although it is extremely rare. While not all cats who get the coronavirus will develop FIP, when it does occur it is a very deadly condition that can be devastating to both the cat and owner.

FIP is usually fatal, with little chance for recovery. FIP works by destroying white blood cells in felines, and can be spread by cats who come into contact with each other. It is currently one of the most fatal diseases in felines. Only about 5% of cats who become infected with the feline coronavirus will develop feline infectious peritonitis.

Symptoms of Feline Coronavirus

The virus generally appears more than 2 weeks after the infection, and the majority of cats who are exposed will not contract the FIP condition. Symptoms of the coronavirus are generally very mild, and may include a runny nose and watery eyes. 

If your cat is one of the rare felines who does develop the feline infectious peritonitis condition, the following signs and symptoms may occur:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal discharge
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of energy
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Loss of hair
  • Fever 
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Ulcers of the eye
  • Jaundice of the eyes
  • Anemia
  • Neurological complications
  • Severe conjunctivitis
  • Bloated appearance
  • Difficulty breathing

Most signs and symptoms are present only after the condition has progressed. There are rarely any major symptoms right after exposure.

Treatment for FIP

Feline Infectious Peritontis is almost always fatal, unfortunately. At the current moment, there is not a cure available for FIP. There are a few experimental treatments in progress, but they have not be proven to cure the condition. Life expectancy for cats with feline infectious peritonitis is only a few weeks.

Causes of Feline Coronavirus

A risk factor for the feline coronavirus may include households with more than one cat. In addition, there have been more cats who are susceptible to the virus in general. Other risk factors may include:

  • stress
  • sanitation issues
  • crowding in the home
  • parasites

Cats can also spread the coronavirus in their feces, nasal secretions, and oral secretions. The feline coronavirus can remain inactive and harmless in the home, but it is very easy to destroy the virus with regular cleaning habits. The feline coronavirus poses no threat to humans.

How to Prevent the Feline Coronavirus and FIP

While it is impossible to know which cats will develop the FIP condition after being infected with the coronavirus, there are several things pet owners can do to possibly prevent the coronavirus from occurring in the first place. Making sure your cat's healthy and has a strong immune system is important in preventing disease.

Providing proper nutrition, exercise, and a low-stress environment is the best way to keep your pet healthy. Keeping cats overcrowded may increase stress, lower immunity, and may spread viruses easily, so it is best not to allow this to happen.