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November 23, 2015 Dr. Missy Simpson, Morris Animal Foundation’s veterinary epidemiologist, recalls that one of the joys of general practice was caring for newly adopted kittens.

“People would come for their first wellness exam after getting a kitten,” said Dr. Simpson. “They were so excited about their new family member. I loved being a part of that enthusiasm.” 

However, for some families, the news wasn’t always good. Some of the kittens were ill with feline infectious peritonitis, a viral illness of cats that is 100 percent fatal. An estimated one in 300 cats is diagnosed with FIP in the United States, and it is five to 10 times more common in shelter cats and kittens.

“My heart would just sink when I saw a frail, sickly kitten come in,” said Dr. Simpson. “The story was almost always the same; the kitten was recently adopted from a shelter, and seemed fine at first. After a few weeks, the owners would feel that something was wrong, and would bring the kitten in for an exam. I had to tell people that their kitten had feline infectious peritonitis. It was devastating news. I felt completely helpless”

Now, thanks to our generous donors, Morris Animal Foundation is gaining ground on FIP. For the last 15 years, our funded studies have advanced understanding in how this virus affects some cats and not others, as well as identified new targets for novel treatments. 

But there is still more work needed to eliminate this dreaded disease. And we’ve never been closer to finding a solution.

Recent advances in molecular biology are helping us understand how FIP virus causes disease. Morris Animal Foundation wants to capitalize on these discoveries, and has made FIP research a top funding priority. The foundation recently approved five grants solicited from some of the best FIP researchers in the world. Many other worthy projects waiting for support.

With your help, we can find a way to stop this virus from taking more lives. Your gift this holiday season during our Morris Animal Foundation Season of Hope will help us give all cats and kittens long, healthy lives free from FIP. And, now, you can double your impact with our dollar-for-dollar match from generous, anonymous donors. Make your gift today, and help us make the world a better place for all animals. Thank you.