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Cat Vaccinations - Everything You Should Know

Are Vaccinations Necessary for my Cat?

The answer is yes. 

The importance of vaccinations to the overall health and longevity of your cat cannot be understated. Vaccinations are medically and scientifically proven to combat the incubation and transmission of crippling and fatal feline diseases.

Our veterinary staff is dedicated to educating people about the importance of cat vaccinations, including what vaccinations are necessary, and when they should be scheduled.

It is important to note that our doctors don't follow a 'one size fits all' protocol for immunizations, but rather treat each patient as an individual and recommend the best possible protocols for that particular cat by looking at their risk factors such as age, overall health, and lifestyle.

Are Vaccinations for Cats Required by Law?

Rabies is the only cat vaccination required by law in the state of CA. This is due primarily to the threat rabies poses to human beings, and the speed at which rabies can spread. Although other cat and kitten vaccinations are not legally required by law, they are important because they protect your cat from serious disease.

What Vaccinations are Recommended for my Cat?

The American Association of Feline Practitioners has determined what vaccinations should be administered for cats. You should discuss what vaccinations are necessary for your cat at your next visit.

The following vaccinations are commonly recommended:

  • Rabies
  • FVRCP (Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus)
  • Feline Leukemia

Vaccination Schedules

Kitten vaccinations and cat vaccinations are dependent upon several factors, including preexisting medical conditions and indoor or outdoor living situations. You should always discuss these factors with a veterinarian to determine what your cat's vaccination schedule should be.

However, we have listed an approximate vaccination schedule here for an 'average' indoor housecat, to give you an idea of a cat vaccination timeline:

Kitten Vaccinations

  • 6-10 Weeks Old: FVRCP
  • 11-14 Weeks Old: FVRCP, Feline Leukemia
  • 16+ Weeks Old: FVRCP, Feline Leukemia, Rabies

Adult Cat Vaccinations

Vaccinations are given to your cat one year after the end of the kitten series. FVRCP, or feline distemper, Feline Leukemia for felines at risk of exposure to feline leukemia virus, and Rabies annually, as required by law.

**According to the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners, cats at low risk of disease exposure may not need to be boostered yearly for most diseases. Consult with the veterinarian at your next visit to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your cat. Remember, recommendations vary depending on the age, breed, and health status of the cat, the potential of the cat to be exposed to the disease, the type of vaccine, whether the cat is used for breeding, and the geographical area where the cat lives or may visit.

Are There Risks Associated with Vaccinations?

Vaccinations stimulate your cat's immune system in order to create protection from specific infectious diseases, have saved countless lives, and play a vital role in the battle against feline infectious disease.

As with any medical procedure, there is a small chance of negative side effects. In most cases, the risks are much smaller than the risks of disease itself.

Most cats show no ill side effect from receiving a vaccination. If your cat does have a reaction, it is usually minor and short-lived. However, you should still be on the lookout for the following symptoms that might indicate negative side effects from a vaccination.

Possible Side Effects include:

  • Fever
  • Severe lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling and redness around the injection site
  • Lameness
  • Hives

If you suspect your cat is experiencing any ill side effects from their vaccination, call us immediately so we can help you determine whether any special care is needed.

As with any other immunization protocol, a vaccination schedule should be adhered to without deviation in order to ensure your cat remains healthy and well for the duration of his or her life. We cannot control all health issues, but we can prevent the majority of infectious disease with the proper vaccination schedule.

Schedule a Vaccination Appointment for your Cat today!

Call us directly or schedule an appointment online.

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