Cat vaccinations are essential to keeping your cat healthy - even if they are an indoor cat. Here, our South Lebanon vets tell you what you need to know about getting your cat vaccinated.
Why should I get my cat vaccinated?
To protect your cat from contracting a number of serious feline-specific diseases, it is essential to have your cat vaccinated. The first round of vaccinations should take place while your cat is still a kitten. After that, it is equally important to follow up with regular booster shots throughout your cat's lifetime.
Booster shots 'boost' your cat's protection against a range of feline diseases, as the effectiveness of the initial vaccine wears off. Booster shots for different vaccines are given on varying schedules. Your vet will let you know when to bring your cat back their booster shots.
Vaccinations for cats fall into two basic types.
Core vaccinations: These vaccines are recommended for all cats to protect them against common, but serious, cat illnesses:
- Panleukopenia (feline distemper)
- Feline calicivirus (FCV)
- Feline herpesvirus type I (FHV, FHV-1)
Non-core vaccinations: Also known as lifestyle vaccines, these vaccinations are suitable for some cats. Your vet will advise you as to which non-core vaccines are recommended for your cat. Non-core vaccines include protection against:
- Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
- Chlamydophila felis
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
When should my kitten get their first shots?
At about six to eight weeks of age, your kitten should see the veterinarian for their first round of vaccinations. After that, your kitten should receive a series of vaccines at three or four week intervals until they are about 16 weeks old.
When should I bring my cat back to the vet for booster shots?
Adult cats should receive booster shots either yearly or every three years depending on the vaccine. Your vet will advise you on when you bring your adult cat back for their booster shots.
Will my kitten be protected after the first round of shots?
Your kitten is not fully vaccinated until they have received all of their injections, at about 12-16 weeks of age. Once they have received all of those initial vaccinations your kitten will be protected against the diseases covered by the vaccines.
If you want to allow your kitten outdoors before they have received all of their vaccines, it is a good idea to keep them confined to low-risk areas such as your own backyard.
Do I need to get my indoor cat vaccinated?
You may not think that your indoor cat needs to be vaccinated, however many states require that cats over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against rabies. When you have your cat vaccinated your vet will provide you with a certificate of vaccination which you should store in a safe place.
It's also possible that despite being careful your cat could get outside - they are curious creatures! Our vets recommend that indoor cats receive all of the core-vaccinations to protect against diseases they may be exposed to if they manage to escape the safety of home.