Vaccination for Kittens and Cats
Vaccination is one of the most effective and important ways to protect your feline companion's health and well-being, protecting them against a range of potentially life-threatening diseases. With so many vaccination options available, it can be difficult to know which vaccines your cat requires, and at what stage of life they should receive them.
When should my kitten/cat be vaccinated?
Kittens should receive their first vaccination at around 6 to 8 weeks of age and continue to receive a series of vaccinations every 3 to 4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks of age. During this time, both core and non-core vaccines will be administered based on your kitten's needs and risk factors. Your veterinarian can determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your kitten and provide advice on protecting their health. As adults, cats require booster vaccinations every 1 to 3 years to maintain protection against diseases. If your pets vaccinations are overdue by more than a month, a veterinarian may suggest an additional booster to ensure the safety of your pet against viruses and diseases.
What vaccines does my kitten/cat need?
The vaccines your kitten or cat needs will depend on factors such as their age, lifestyle, and overall health. The following vaccines are considered core vaccines:
Rabies (Legally mandated): This disease is fatal and affects the nervous system. It can also be transmitted to humans and animals through a bite from an infected animal or by infected saliva coming into contact with broken skin. (Even indoor cats can get Rabies if a bat gets in. A bat bite is not always visible to the human eye).
Panleukopenia: This viral disease primarily affects kittens, though unvaccinated cats of any age are also at risk. This disease can be fatal for unvaccinated cats.
Feline viral Rhinotracheitis: This disease is the most severe and widespread upper-respiratory virus. It can cause fever, tearing, discharge from eyes and nose, salivation and mouth breathing.
Calicivirus: This disease is also a widespread contagious upper- respiratory virus. They can recover from a fever, pneumonia and mouth ulcers, though they also might become carriers for the virus.
Chlamydiosis: This virus is highly contagious and has a high infection rate especially for kittens. This virus causes a local infection of the mucous membranes of the eye and may also affect the lung. This disease is transferable to humans by direct contact.
Leukemia: This virus is spread through saliva, blood, and urine and can lead to several serious illnesses, including cancer.
Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated?
Yes, even if your cat is an indoor cat, they should still receive core vaccinations to protect them from potential diseases. Although indoor cats may have less exposure to infectious agents than outdoor cats, there is still a risk of diseases entering the home environment, such as through contact with other pets, new pets to the household, exposure to insects, or even on the clothing and shoes of visitors to your home. Additionally, even indoor-only cats can accidentally escape, and they may come into contact with other animals or their bodily fluids outdoors. The core vaccines recommended for all cats protect against serious and potentially fatal diseases, such as rabies, feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Your veterinarian can help you determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your indoor cat based on their unique lifestyle and risk factors.