Vaccines are vital to keep your cat protected from serious illness. Here, our Oakland vets discuss the most important vaccinations for cats and what schedule owners should follow for them.
Why Vaccinate Your Cat
It's important to vaccinate your kitten so they can be safe against a range of Feline-specific diseases. Once your kitten receives their first vaccinations it's just as imperative to bring them back to the vet for booster shots regularly throughout their life.
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.
There are two basic types of vaccinations cats can get.
Core vaccinations are recommended for all cats. These vaccinations are considered vital for protecting your cat from the following common and serious feline conditions:
- Feline calicivirus (FCV)
- Panleukopenia (feline distemper)
- Feline herpesvirus type I (FHV, FHV-1)
Non-core vaccinations are suitable for some cats, based on their lifestyle. Your vet will advise you as to which non-core vaccines are recommended for your cat. Non-core vaccines include protection against:
- Chlamydophila felis
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
- Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
When Kittens Should Get Their First Shots
You should bring your kitty to the vet when they are approximately six weeks old so they can get their first set of vaccinations. Following this, your kitten should be given a series of vaccines in intervals of 3 or 4 weeks until they are roughly 16 weeks of age.
Taking Your Cat for Their Booster Shots
You should be bringing your adult cat back to the vet for their booster shots either once a year or every three years depending on which vaccine they will be receiving. Your vet will let you know the exact time frame when your kitty should be getting their booster shots.
Are Kittens 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.
Why It's Important to Vaccinate Your Indoor Cat
While you might believe that you don't have to vaccinate your indoor cat, many states by law require all cats over 6 months of age to receive the rabies vaccine. When your kitty has received this vaccination, your vet will give you a certificate as proof that you should store in a safe location.
It's always best to be on the side of caution when it comes you your cat's health. By nature, cats are very curious. So, our vets suggest core vaccinations for all indoor cats so they can be protected from any diseases they could be exposed to if they escape the safety your home provides.