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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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is it normal for my cat to be sick the day after a vaccination

Resolved Question:

Yesterday, my cats got their annual rabies and distemper vaccination (no leukemia vaccination b/c they are strictly indoors). While I was there, I petted the cats in the vet's adoption area (one of which was blind in one eye from an ulcer). However, I washed my hands before touching my cats but not before touching my clothes and their carrier. Last night, I noticed that one of my cat's eyes is oozing and another cat has been hiding and acting very sick since last night. Is this just a normal reaction to the vaccinations or should I be worried about having passed some illness from the adoption center cats to my own?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Terri replied 9 years ago.

Hi Susanna,

Shots actually temporarily weaken a cats immune systemThe cat you saw had either Herpes or conjuctivitis but your cat could not catch it from you. .There is a world of airbourne bacteria in animal centers even if you do not see sick cats.

It is normal for your babies to feel a bit under the weather after vaccnations but they should not be hiding or not eating.

I would have the sick one checked out ASAP. He is going to get dehydrated if he does not eat.

In the meantime,give h im two droppers (cc size) of unflavored pedialyte every ten minutes for an hour. Next water down(plain water) canned cat food or baby food chicken or turkey with no onion or garlic and give only one dropper every ten minutes for another hour. Wait two hours and repeat both. When he feels hydrated he will lick up the gruel on his own.

Boil chicken or fish as the scent of food cooking awakens the appetite sensor in the brain.

Please get started ASAP and let me know how things are going. I will stand by to hear from you and help further.

Very sincerely,


Terri and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Terri Riba's Post: I contacted my vet about my one cat hiding. She said that he's probably feeling bad from the vaccine but that I should keep an eye on him. He was running around acting happy until last night (about 10 hours after the vaccine). At that time, he started going to his hiding place in the closet. That did not worry me too much until this morning when I noticed him go back to the closet. I'm wondering if he is sore and did not want to be picked up? I picked him up and moved him once and he seemed annoyed with me. The vet said it was probably the vaccine but to keep an eye on him and not just assume it was that. I'm not really sure what that means, what I'm keeping an eye on, or how worried I'm supposed to be (especially since I have no idea how bad this vaccine should make a cat feel).
Expert:  Terri replied 9 years ago.


Cats do not have whims like people. Whenever they stop eating n or strart hiding, are either ill or in pain. If he has no other symptoms like fever, diarrhea, constipation, infection, etc then there is something going on that is difficult to ascertain - but it exists nevertheless. They can be mildly dehydrated or have a metabolic or organic imbalance that is too slight to read on a test. He may also feel nauseated.

Vaccine reactions can be serious:

I would get him out and offer someting tasty like people tuna, baby foood or boiled chicken.

Make sure he has no fever above 102.5.

If he refuses to eat or has fever or is dehydrated, he should be reseen. I do not agree with the philosophy of "watching" a sick cat because he can get worse from not eating or dehydration.

Hopefully he is just stressed and upset but do try to get him to eat.

Please let me know how he is feeling. I will be standing by to hear from you.

Best wishes,


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
My cat that was hiding yesterday morning was back out socializing yesterday afternoon. He was very hungry too, so that was a good sign. I guess the vaccine really affected him. Also, the other cat's eye appears to be much better. There is still some gunk around her eye, but it is no longer oozing. I will watch them both carefully to make sure they continue to improve. My vet had recommended that I not give them the feline leukemia vaccine because they are strictly indoor cats, and she said that vaccine usely affects cats the most. I shudder to think how much worse that would have made them feel because how bad just the rabies and FRCVP vaccines were. Is it normal for vaccines to make cats feel bad? I just want to be prepared for the next time they have to get their vaccines.
Expert:  Terri replied 9 years ago.

Hi Susan,

I am sooooo glad your baby is feelig better! Yes, many cats have reactions to vaccines.

If your vet used climydia vaccine in the FVRCP, that may be the culprit as it often causes eye issues so I would leave it out next time

Indoor kitties do not need FELV shots.

I will be here so please let me know how your baby is doing.

Best regards,