Specified pathogen-free cats were naturally infected with FCoV or experimentally infected with FCoV type I. Seroconversion was determined and the course of infection was monitored by measuring the FCoV loads in faeces, whole blood, plasma and/or monocytes. Tissue samples collected at necropsy were examined for viral load and histopathological changes. Experimentally infected animals started shedding virus as soon as 2 days after infection. They generally displayed the highest viral loads in colon, ileum and mesenteric lymph nodes. Seroconversion occurred 3-4 weeks post infection. Naturally infected cats were positive for FCoV antibodies and monocyte-associated FCoV viraemia prior to death. At necropsy, most animals tested positive for viral shedding and FCoV RNA was found in spleen, mesenteric lymph nodes and bone marrow. Both experimentally and naturally infected cats remained clinically healthy. Pathological findings were restricted to generalized lymphatic hyperplasia. These findings demonstrate the presence of systemic FCoV infection with high viral loads in the absence of clinical and pathological signs.