How Many Vaccines Does My Cat Need Each Year?

Whether your feline is an indoor or outdoor cat, there are necessary vaccines you should administer to keep your pet safe, healthy and thriving throughout his or her lifetime.

There are a wide variety of different vaccines that target specific illnesses, ailments and conditions that cats can acquire throughout their lifetime, and there are also a subset of different concoctions, strengths, combinations and types of vaccines that help with rare infections and blood disorders. Vaccines do come with certain risks and side effects, so it is best to discuss these concerns with your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any treatment. However, there are certain vaccines that are considered to be essential for your cat’s health.

The feline distemper vaccine helps protect cats from getting panleukopenia. The feline calici virus is also essential for most cats, and the feline herpes vaccine is also considered to be a core vaccine. The feline rabies vaccine is not only considered essential, it may also be mandated by law in some counties, cities and states. In areas where the rabies vaccine is not mandated, you need to be aware of the consequences you may face as a pet owner in the event that your cat bites someone. If a bite does not stem from your cat being provoked, and her or she has not had their rabies vaccine, you may be forced to hand your pet over to be quarantined. If the bite was unprovoked, your cat may end up being sent for a rabies test and could end up being euthanized. The first two rabies vaccines should be spaced a year apart. Subsequent rabies vaccines can be administered every three years.

Non-core vaccines, while not mandated or necessarily essential, are important vaccines to consider if your cat has a particular lifestyle or has potentially been exposed to other felines with certain conditions. Vaccines for feline leukemia are important for cats whose parents or siblings have been afflicted with the disease. Bordatella is a necessary vaccine for any felines who have come from foster care or shelters. Bordatella prevents kennel cough; this is a potentially fatal respiratory disease. Chylamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus vaccines are also important to consider if your cat has a history of respiratory distress or infections. Speak with your veterinarian to determine the vaccines that he or she recommends for your cat.

Kittens receive antibodies from the milk of their mother. These antibodies help the kitten fight off a variety of infectious diseases until the kitten has developed a strong immune system of its own. Once a kitten is around six to eight weeks old, your veterinarian will begin to administer a series of vaccinations at four-week intervals until he or she has reached 16 weeks old. Adult cats are administered vaccine schedules that are based on a number of factors: your cat’s age and medical history, the type of vaccine, your cat’s environment and your feline’s lifestyle. Based on these factors, cats are vaccinated either every year or every three years.

While many pet owners prefer to have their cats vaccinated at the vet’s office, for safety and peace of mind, there are many owners that like to cut costs and administer the injections themselves in the comfort and convenience of their own home. Additionally, some cats have medical conditions that require daily or weekly injections to help treat or manage the condition. It can become very costly to visit the veterinarian to have daily or weekly shots administered. Many pet owners choose to purchase their cat vaccinations online from a variety of trusted and reputable sites.

While there are some risks associated with having your cat vaccinated, the benefits far outweigh the potential side effects. Vaccinating your feline is just one of the many ways you can keep your kitty safe, healthy, happy and protected from environmental and lifestyle changes.

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