What’s the FVRCP vaccine for cats? Vet’s guide to uses and negative effects


The FVRCP vaccine for cats is one in every of two core vaccines that’s beneficial for each single pet cat, no matter their lifestyle. (Rabies is the opposite core feline vaccine.) 

Why is FVRCP thought to be one of the essential cat and kitten vaccinations?Since it protects against three common viral illnesses that may have significant health impacts on unvaccinated cats. 

The risks related to these infections far outweigh the small risk of negative effects related to vaccination. Due to this fact, the feline vaccination guidelines (opens in latest tab) (established by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association) recommend this vaccine for all kittens and adult cats.  

What does the FVRCP vaccine protect against? 

The FVRCP vaccine protects against three serious viral illnesses in cats: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. 

All three of those viruses may cause serious infections, and all three viruses can potentially be fatal.  

  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis: This herpes virus is a standard reason for upper respiratory infections in cats. Common signs of rhinotracheitis include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and fever. In some cases, cats with rhinotracheitis develop secondary infections that may severely impact their respiration. In rare cases, infection will be life-threatening. As a herpes virus, rhinotracheitis causes lifelong infections; signs of illness may recur anytime the cat is stressed.  
  • Feline calicivirus: That is one other common upper respiratory virus in cats. Usually, the signs of feline calicivirus are much like the signs seen with feline viral rhinotracheitis. Less common signs may include sores within the mouth, joint swelling, and limping. Some strains cause a highly virulent disease that is usually fatal.  
  • Feline panleukopenia: Also often known as feline distemper, this virus attacks a cat’s gastrointestinal tract and immune system. Affected cats develop vomiting, diarrhea, and secondary infections. Lower than 50% of cats infected with panleukopenia survive the infection. 

There isn’t a cure for feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, or feline panleukopenia. 

Infected cats may receive antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections and medicine to regulate the symptoms of disease, but these viruses can only be cured through the actions of your cat’s immune system. 

Vaccination helps prime your cat’s immune system to react quickly to infection and is beneficial for all kittens and adult cats.

For more recommendations on stopping disease and keeping your kitten healthy, see our kitten care suggestions.

Close up of kitten with blue eyes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Uncomfortable side effects of FVRCP vaccine

Most cats tolerate vaccines well, with minimal negative effects. Nevertheless, similar to once we humans get a flu shot, negative effects can occur. 

Probably the most common negative effects in cats include lethargy, decreased appetite, soreness on the injection site, and fever. These effects are typically mild and short-lived. In actual fact, lower than 1% of cats (opens in latest tab) experience negative effects that prompt their owner to contact the veterinarian.

In rare cases (lower than 1 in 2,000 cats (opens in latest tab)) a more severe allergic response may occur to vaccination. Vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, and generalized itching may indicate an allergic response. In case you observe these signs in your cat after vaccination, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Finally, cats may develop a particularly rare post-vaccination skin mass often known as a vaccine-associated fibrosarcoma. These masses are very unusual, but they will occur. In case your cat develops a persistent swelling at their vaccination site (lasting for multiple month after vaccination), contact your veterinarian for guidance. 

How often do cats need FVRCP? 

Kittens should receive their first FVRCP vaccine at roughly six weeks of age. Booster vaccinations are administered every 3-4 weeks until the cat reaches 16-20 weeks of age. 

As an adult, FVRCP vaccines are administered less incessantly. Your cat’s first adult booster will probably be given one 12 months after the completion of their kitten series. Your cat will then proceed to receive vaccine boosters each one to 3 years for the rest of their life. (Generally, injectable FVRCP vaccines are boostered every three years and intranasal FVRCP vaccines are boostered yearly.) 

Proceed your cat’s FVRCP and rabies vaccines (in accordance with the schedule beneficial by your veterinarian) to your cat’s entire life, even into old age. How long do cats live? Anywhere from 12-20 years, and it’s vital to proceed preventative care throughout their senior years. Older animals often have weaker immune systems than younger pets, making vaccines much more vital in your cat’s senior years. 

For information on rabies, the opposite core vaccine that’s beneficial for all cats, see how often do cats need rabies shots?

A happy and relaxed cat staring

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How much does the FVRCP vaccine cost? 

A typical FVRCP vaccine costs roughly $20-40, depending on the brand of vaccination that your veterinarian uses. 

Nevertheless, this vaccine have to be accompanied by a physical examination. Your veterinarian will fastidiously examine your pet to find out whether or not they are healthy enough to receive a vaccine and determine whether there are another health issues that must be addressed. 

For each a physical examination and an FVRCP vaccine, you may expect to spend roughly $50-100, depending in your region’s cost of living.

Given the necessity for repeated vaccines during your kitten’s first few months of life, it’s possible you’ll end up wondering: does pet insurance cover vaccines?

The reply to that query will depend on your specific pet insurance policy. Many policies are intended only to cover accidents and illnesses. Nevertheless, some policies do offer optional coverage for preventative care. Read the small print of your insurance policy fastidiously to find out what is roofed.


The FVRCP vaccine for cats plays a vital role in keeping your cat  glad and healthy. Follow your veterinarian’s beneficial vaccination schedules(for each the FVRCP vaccine and other beneficial vaccines) to guard your cat from serious infectious diseases, maximizing your cat’s probabilities of living an extended and healthy life.