Distemper in cats is a contagious, often fatal, viral disease that negatively impacts the red blood cells and bone marrow in felines. Because of the assault on the red blood cells, cats with distemper frequently become anemic, which can lead to other viral or bacterial infections.
Distemper in cats is also called feline panleukopenia virus, and it passes through contact with contaminated blood, urine or stool from an infected cat. Cats with weakened immune systems, cats that are pregnant and kittens (up to six months old) are all highly susceptible to acquiring distemper. Kittens frequently become infected while in the womb or through nursing if the mother has distemper. A veterinarian can give an FPV vaccination to keep cats from acquiring this disease.