Long-term impact on a closed household of pet cats of natural infection with feline coronavirus, feline leukaemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.
A closed household of 26 cats in which feline coronavirus (FCoV), feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) were endemic was observed for 10 years. Each cat was seropositive for FCoV on at least one occasion and the infection was maintained by reinfection. After 10 years, three of six surviving cats were still seropositive. Only one cat, which was also infected with FIV, developed feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Rising anti-FCoV antibody titres did not indicate that the cat would develop FIP. The FeLV infection was self-limiting because all seven of the initially viraemic cats died within five years and the remainder were immune. However, FeLV had the greatest impact on mortality. Nine cats were initially FIV-positive and six more cats became infected during the course of the study, without evidence of having been bitten. The FIV infection did not adversely affect the cats' life expectancy.