There are a variety of vaccinations that your cat needs to stay healthy and well. Immunization schedules vary depending on your feline friend’s age, breed, and health. But, there are some core vaccines that all cats should receive.
This blog post will help you understand which vaccines your cat needs and when to have them administered. Let’s get started!
What Is A Cat Vaccine, And How Does It Work?
A cat vaccine is an immunization given to a cat to help protect them from disease. Various types of cat vaccines are available. They work by causing the cat’s immune system to produce antibodies against the disease-causing agent. These antibodies help to protect the cat from infection by binding to the disease-causing agent and preventing it from infecting the cat’s cells.
Cat vaccines are given as injections, and most cats need booster shots regularly to maintain their immunity.
Types Of Vaccines Available For Cats
Two types of vaccines are available for cats: Core and Non-Core.
Core vaccines are recommended for all cats, regardless of their lifestyle or risk factors. These vaccines protect against common diseases which pose a high risk to cats, such as Feline Panleukopenia (also known as “distemper”) and rabies.
Non-core vaccines, on the other hand, are optional and only recommended for cats at increased risk of exposure to certain diseases. These vaccines protect against less common diseases, such as feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
Your cat’s age, lifestyle, and health status will all determine which vaccines are right for them. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about which vaccines are recommended for your cat.
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Cats and Kittens Vaccination Schedule
The table below outlines the recommended vaccination schedule for both kittens and adult cats:
|Vaccine||Vaccine Type||Kittens (≥ 6 weeks)||Adult (> 16 weeks)||Booster|
|Feline Distemper or Panleukopenia (FPV)||Core||First dose as early as six weeks of age, with 3-4 weekly injections until 16 weeks.||Two doses, 3 to 4 weeks apart||One dose after one year following the last dose, then every three years after that.|
|Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1)||Core||The initial dose should be given as early as six weeks of age, with 3-4 weekly injections until 16 weeks of age||Two doses, 3 to 4 weeks apart||One dose after one year following the last dose, then every three years after that.|
|Feline calicivirus (FCV)||Core||Initially vaccinated as early as six weeks of age, with 3-4 weekly injections until 16 weeks of age||Two doses, 3 to 4 weeks apart||One dose after one year following the last dose, then every three years after that.|
|Rabies||Core||The initial dose should be given at 16 weeks of age.||Revaccinate 1 year later after the last dose of the initial series.||An annual booster is required|
|Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)||Non-Core||Initial dose as early as 8 to 12 weeks of age. Revaccinate 3-4 weeks later.||Two doses, 3 to 4 weeks apart.||In cats considered to have a continued risk of exposure, a single dosage is given one year after the last dose of the original series and subsequently annually.|
|Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)||Non-Core||Three doses are required when indicated: The first dose should be given at eight weeks of age, followed by two more doses at 2-3 weeks apart.||Three doses are required when indicated: Each dose is given 2-3 weeks apart.||In cats with a continued risk of exposure, a single dose is given one year after the last dose of the original series, then annually.|
|Chlamydophila felis||Non-Core||The initial dose is as early as 9 weeks of age and the second one after 3-4 weeks.||Provide two doses, 3-4 weeks apart.||For cats in danger of prolonged exposure, an annual booster is recommended.|
|Bordetella bronchiseptica||Non-Core||As early as eight weeks of age, administer a single dosage intranasally.||Intranasally provide a single dose.||An annual booster is recommended for cats at high risk.|
|Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)||Non-Core||Give a single dose as early as 16 weeks of age and a second dose 3-4 weeks later if necessary.||If necessary, give two doses, 3-4 weeks apart.||An annual booster is recommended.|
Note: FVRCP vaccine, a combination of feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia, can be given to your kitten instead separately.
Recommended Vaccination Schedule For Kittens
Kittens should start receiving vaccines at around six to eight weeks of age. The initial vaccine series will typically consist of two or three shots, two to four weeks apart. After the initial series, kittens will need booster shots every three to four weeks until they are 16 weeks old.
At this point, most kittens will have received all the core vaccines they need and can begin a less frequent booster schedule. It is still essential to keep up with regular vet check-ups and booster shots. Similarly, some non-core vaccines may be recommended depending on your kitten’s lifestyle and health status.
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Recommended Vaccination Schedule For Adult Cats
Depending on the vaccine, adult cats should receive booster shots every one to three years.
It is crucial to keep up with regular vet check-ups and booster shots. Additionally, some non-core vaccines should also be given depending on your cat’s lifestyle and health status.
What if my cat misses a booster shot?
If your cat misses their booster shot, it is essential to schedule a new appointment as soon as possible with their veterinarian. Your cat may be able to receive a “catch-up” vaccine series to get back on track.
It is also important to remember that even if your cat is up-to-date on their vaccines, they may still be at risk of contracting certain diseases if exposed to them. For example, the feline panleukopenia virus is highly contagious and can be deadly, even to vaccinated cats. Thus, it is essential to keep up with regular vet check-ups, even if your cat is up-to-date on their shots.
Risks and side effects of vaccines
As with any medication, there is always the potential for side effects with vaccines. The most common side effect is a mild fever, which usually goes away within 24 hours. Other potential side effects include injection site reactions, such as swelling or soreness and gastrointestinal upset.
A cat may experience an allergic reaction to a vaccine in sporadic cases. Signs of an allergic reaction include facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and collapse. If you notice any of these signs after your cat has been vaccinated, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.
Overall, the risks posed by the disease are much greater than the risks posed by vaccines. Vaccines are a safe and effective way to help protect your cat from disease and play an essential role in keeping your cat healthy and happy.
How to get your cat vaccinated?
The best way to vaccinate your cat is to take them to a veterinarian. Your cat will need a physical examination before any vaccinations are given.
Your veterinarian can determine which vaccines are right for your cat and create a vaccination schedule tailored to their individual needs.
Vaccines are essential to keeping your cat healthy and happy, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian about which ones are right for your feline friend.
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Tips for reducing the risk of your cat contracting a disease
There are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of your cat contracting a disease:
- Keep them up to date on their vaccinations
- Feed them a balanced and nutritious diet
- Provide them with plenty of clean water
- Take them to the vet for regular check-ups
- Keep their living area clean and free of debris
- Avoid exposure to other sick animals
Following these tips can help keep your cat healthy and reduce its risk of contracting a disease.
How often should I get my cat vaccinated?
The frequency of vaccinations depends on the vaccine. For example, the rabies vaccine is given annually.
It is vital to keep up with regular vet check-ups and booster shots. Some non-core vaccines might also be recommended depending on your cat’s lifestyle and health status.
Do indoor cats need to be vaccinated?
Indoor cats are at a lower risk of exposure to disease, but they can still benefit from vaccination. Core vaccines, such as the feline panleukopenia and rabies vaccines, are recommended for all cats, regardless of whether they go outside.
Can indoor cats get FeLV or FIV?
Indoor cats can contract FeLV or FIV, but it is much less likely than outdoor cats. The best way to protect your cat from these diseases is to have them vaccinated.
How often do adult cats need to be vaccinated?
Adult cats should receive booster shots every one to three years, depending on the vaccine. For example, the rabies vaccine is typically given annually.
What are the risks and side effects of vaccines?
The most common side effect is a mild fever, which usually goes away within 24 hours. Other potential side effects include injection site reactions, such as swelling or soreness and gastrointestinal upset.
How much do vaccines cost?
The cost of vaccines varies depending on the type of vaccine. Core vaccines, such as the feline panleukopenia and rabies vaccines, are typically less expensive than non-core vaccines.
What if my cat refuses to get vaccinated?
If your cat refuses, there are a few things you can try. First, ensure they are comfortable with the vet and the environment. If they have had a bad experience in the past, it may be challenging to get them to cooperate.
Second, try using a pheromone diffuser/spray in the room where the vaccination will take place. It helps to reduce stress and make your cat more cooperative. Finally, talk to your veterinarian about sedation options. In some cases, it may be necessary to sedate your cat to vaccinate them safely.
Vaccines are an important part of keeping your cat healthy and happy. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about which ones are right for your feline friend and follow their recommended vaccination schedule.
You can also reduce the risk of disease by feeding your cat a balanced diet, providing clean water, and taking them to the vet for regular check-ups. Following these tips can help keep your cat healthy and reduce its risk of contracting a disease.
Do you have any questions about vaccines or the vaccination process? Leave a comment below, and we’ll answer them for you!