What are cat vaccinations?
Cat vaccinations, just like those given to people, are used to stimulate the cat's immune system so that their body will mount a defense against the disease that the vaccination is being administered against.
Cherry Douglas, DVM
Village Square Veterinary Clinic
Are cat vaccinations necessary?
Absolutely! Although most cats are indoor-only cats, they are still at risk for some very bad diseases that they can be protected from by vaccinations. If their immune system is naïve to the disease, they will be much more susceptible. Just think of when COVID first came to the US.
What cat vaccinations are typically recommended and what are they for?
The core vaccines that are recommended for all cats by the American Association of Feline Practitioners is FVRCP which stands for Feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia as well as Rabies. The Feline Leukemia vaccine is considered a core vaccine in kittens but a non-core vaccine in adult cats.
What is the vaccination schedule for the various life stages of cats?
According to the AAFP Kittens should be vaccinated with FVRCP every 3-4 weeks starting around 8 to 12 weeks of age until they are 16-20 weeks of age. They should then receive a booster 1 year later and then every 3 years after that. FeLV should be given twice 3-4 weeks apart between 8 and 20 weeks of age. Rabies is given once to kittens between 12 and 20 weeks of age, and then a booster is given 1 year later and then every 3 years. Senior cats should be vaccinated based on a veterinarian's recommendation.
Are there risks or side effects associated with cat vaccinations?
The purpose of a vaccine is to stimulate the cat's immune system. This can sometimes cause some mild to serious side effects. These include lethargy, fever, facial swelling or welts, and rarely vomiting and diarrhea or anaphylaxis, or shock. A very small percentage of cats can develop tumors from any type of injection including vaccinations. The most current vaccinations and protocols have significantly reduced these tumors from occurring, but they can still happen.
If a cat is going to strictly live indoors, do they still need to be vaccinated?
Yes, because we (their people) can expose them to infectious diseases by carrying them into our homes. There are also many feral cats that live outdoors that are often unvaccinated, and our indoor-only cats can often come nose-to-nose with them on our screened-in porches, patios, or even by escaping the house.
Why is it important to avoid missing a vaccination?
It is important that the vaccinations be given as prescribed because if they are not, the cat will not be fully protected and can be susceptible to infection with the disease.
If you have any questions regarding cat vaccinations, give us a call. We're always here for you.
If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (561) 369-0061, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.