OBJECTIVES To determine, following oral administration of famciclovir, pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters for 2 of its metabolites (penciclovir and BRL42359) in plasma and tears of healthy cats so that famciclovir dosage recommendations for the treatment of herpetic disease can be optimized. ANIMALS 7 male domestic shorthair cats. PROCEDURES In a crossover study, each of 3 doses of famciclovir (30, 40, or 90 mg/kg) was administered every 8 or 12 hours for 3 days. Six cats were randomly assigned to each dosage regimen. Plasma and tear samples were obtained at predetermined times after famciclovir administration. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined for BRL42359 and penciclovir by compartmental and noncompartmental methods. Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) indices were determined for penciclovir and compared among all dosage regimens. RESULTS Compared with penciclovir concentrations, BRL42359 concentrations were 5- to 11-fold greater in plasma and 4- to 7-fold greater in tears. Pharmacokinetic parameters and PK-PD indices for the 90 mg/kg regimens were superior to those for the 30 and 40 mg/kg regimens, regardless of dosing frequency. Penciclovir concentrations in tears ranged from 18% to 25% of those in plasma. Administration of 30 or 40 mg/kg every 8 hours achieved penciclovir concentrations likely to be therapeutic in plasma but not in tears. Penciclovir concentrations likely to be therapeutic in tears were achieved only with the two 90 mg/kg regimens. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE In cats, famciclovir absorption is variable and its metabolism saturable. Conversion of BRL42359 to penciclovir is rate limiting.The recommended dosage of famciclovir is 90 mg/kg every 12 hours for cats infected with feline herpesvirus.