Kitten receiving vaccination from veterinarian

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Vaccines are essential for safeguarding the health and overall well-being of our feline companions. Among them, the FVRCP vaccine plays a critical role in protecting cats from three highly contagious and potentially severe diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.

In this blog post, we will explore the specifics of the FVRCP vaccine for cats, including its recommended timing for administration and potential side effects. Continue reading to learn more.

Why Does My Cat Need To Be Vaccinated?

Vaccinations are widely acknowledged by veterinary professionals as a critical measure in preventing the spread of disease among pets. Vaccinations stimulate the immune system of pets to develop immunity against specific infectious agents, such as viruses or bacteria.1

Cats need to be vaccinated to protect them from various diseases that can be harmful or potentially life-threatening. By vaccinating your cat, you provide them with important protection against common feline illnesses. If proper precautions are not taken, diseases that may seem prevalent only in the wild, like rabies, can find their way into your home.1

When you protect your cat, you protect yourself as well. Diseases can not only transmit between pets but some diseases can also spread and infect humans. Additionally, by getting your cat vaccinated early on, especially if you adopt them as a kitten, you can minimize your chances of paying for costly treatments and medication down the line.1

What Is The FVRCP Vaccine For Cats?

What does the FVRCP vaccine protect against?

The FVRCP vaccine for cats is a combination vaccine that protects against three highly contagious feline diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), calicivirus (C), and panleukopenia (P). Let's examine each of these three diseases and their potential impact on your cat's health.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis

Feline viral rhinotracheitis is a disease that primarily affects the respiratory system and is often accompanied by symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cold-like symptoms. One of the characteristic signs is a clear discharge from the nose and mouth, which may eventually become mucus-like or contain pus.2

After being diagnosed with feline viral rhinotracheitis, the virus can remain dormant in a cat's body for an extended period. Therefore, even if it appears that your cat has recovered from the disease, there is a significant risk of it resurfacing. In healthy adult cats, the symptoms usually last for 5 to 10 days, but elderly cats or young kittens may experience a prolonged illness, leading to severe weight loss.2

Feline Calicivirus

Feline calicivirus, much like feline viral rhinotracheitis, is a respiratory illness that commonly impacts a cat's mouth and lungs. The severity of symptoms can vary depending on the strain, with some strains causing no noticeable symptoms. However, certain strains can result in mouth sores, fluid accumulation in the lungs, and even pneumonia.2

In some cases, kittens may experience joint inflammation and mobility issues, although these typically resolve without treatment. Inflammation in the gums and mouth is a key symptom, which generally subsides within 2 to 3 days. More severe cases of feline calicivirus may persist for 7 to 10 days.2

Feline Panleukopenia

Feline panleukopenia, also known as "feline distemper" or "feline infectious enteritis," is a highly contagious and often fatal disease in cats, characterized by a significant decrease in white blood cell count. Kittens and pregnant cats are particularly vulnerable to the severe effects of this disease, and infection rates are high among cats that have not been vaccinated.3

The virus is commonly transmitted through the nose and mouth via various secretions and excretions, including feces, saliva, tears, and urine. While many infected cats may not display any symptoms, severe cases can be fatal.3

When Should My Cat Receive The FVRCP Vaccine?

The FVRCP vaccine is first given to kittens at 6 to 8 weeks, with boosters every 3-4 weeks until they’re around 16 weeks old

In general, the FVRCP vaccine is typically given to kittens when they are approximately 6 to 8 weeks old. Following the initial dose, booster shots are typically administered at intervals of 3 to 4 weeks until the kitten reaches around 16 weeks old. However, if your cat is an adult, they will usually receive two doses of the vaccine, also spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart.5

When a cat should receive their vaccine typically depends on the following factors. However, always consult your veterinarian to determine the best vaccination schedule for your cat.

  • Age: Your cat’s age plays an important role in determining when they should receive the FVRCP cat vaccine, or any vaccine for that matter. Certain vaccines can only be administered at certain ages, and often, adult cats will need a follow-up of booster vaccines and shots.4
  • Location: When your cat should get their cat FVRCP vaccine also depends on where you live. Based on the specific state, area, or environment, certain risks are more prevalent for cats, and as a result, prioritizing specific vaccines becomes essential.4
  • Habits: The timing of your cat’s FVRCP vaccine also depends on their habits. Are they out and about a lot? Does your cat prefer to stay sat in with you? If your cat is often outdoors, they may need to get additional vaccinations or get vaccinated as early as possible.4

Overall, always listen to your veterinarian when it comes to vaccinations. They will determine the best time for your cat to get vaccinated based on a number of factors, including their age, location, habits, current health condition, medical history, and more. They will also let you know if they need additional vaccines in addition to the core feline vaccines.

FVRCP Vaccine Side Effects

While all vaccines can have side effects, it is important to note that not every cat will experience the same side effects. Fortunately, most side effects of the FVRCP vaccine are mild and typically resolve within a day or two. These may include vomiting, a slight fever, a temporary decrease in appetite, mild lethargy, or reduced activity levels.6 Some cats may also experience mild swelling or tenderness at the injection site. If any of these issues persist or cause concern, it is advisable to contact your veterinarian and inform them of the situation.

In rare instances, cats may experience an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Allergic reactions can manifest as symptoms such as hives, swelling, and itchiness.6 If the allergic reaction is severe, your cat may even have a hard time breathing, collapse, or experience seizures. If you observe any of these allergic reactions, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately, as this constitutes an emergency situation.

Severe FVRCP vaccine side effects that require immediate veterinary attention

FVRCP Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the FVRCP vaccine cost?

It is no secret that the cost of owning a pet can be expensive, but investing in vaccines can actually save you money in the long run by preventing the need for costly treatments. Generally, the cost of the FVRCP vaccine ranges from $20 to $40, depending on where you live.

Do cats need FVRCP vaccine boosters?

After the initial vaccination, kittens typically require a series of booster shots. Usually, adult cats only need one additional booster shot following the initial vaccination. It is recommended that both kittens and adult cats receive their booster shots within a 3 to 4-week interval from each other.

Is FVRCP the same as distemper?

In cats, distemper is a disease that the FVRCP vaccine covers, as well as two other diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus. Feline distemper is also referred to as feline panleukopenia, which is the “P” in the FVRCP acronym.

Kitten receiving vaccination from veterinarian

Final Notes

It cannot be emphasized enough how crucial it is to protect your pets through preventative vaccinations. Unless your veterinarian advises otherwise, we highly recommend exploring all core vaccinations for your precious feline. Opting for the FVRCP vaccine is a great choice as it combines three essential vaccinations, protecting your cat from three highly contagious diseases while saving you the hassle and expense of getting separate vaccines.

Want to know more about cats? Feel free to browse through our extensive library of blog posts. Whether you want to learn how to give your cat a bath or find out if it's safe for cats to eat strawberries, we have a wealth of information to provide answers to all your cat-related questions.

Need to consult a veterinarian? Skip the stress of an in-person visit and talk to a vet from the comfort of your own home. At Dutch, we diagnose and treat a wide range of pet health conditions depending on where you live, from allergies to urinary health issues. Try Dutch today.



  1. “Vaccinations” AVMA

  2. F. Keuhen, Ned. “Feline Respiratory Disease (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus)” MSD Manual, Oct 2022,-feline-calicivirus.

  3. A. Squires, Richard. “Feline Panleukopenia” MSD Manual, Oct 2022

  4. “Should My Pet Be Vaccinated?” AAHA

  5. “Vaccination in General Practice” American Association of Feline Practitioners

  6. C. Mitchell, Sandra. “What Is the FVRCP Cat Vaccine?” petMD, 27 June 2019

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