What exactly are cat vaccinations?
Cat vaccines are either a killed or a modified live version of a virus or bacteria that's given as an injection. These injections help the cat's own immune system develop protection against those specific diseases such as rabies or feline leukemia. Without a doubt, vaccines are one of the most important medical breakthroughs in human and animal health.
Dr. Marty Greer
Are cat vaccinations necessary?
Yes. Even if your cat's entirely indoors, it's still necessary.
What cat vaccinations are typically recommended, and what are they for?
FVRCP is a mouthful. It's feline viral rhinotracheitis Calici virus and panleukopenia. No one can say that, so we always say FVRCP. The viral, rhino, and Calici are to protect your cats against upper respiratory infections. Panleukopenia is the cat version of dog parvovirus. That virus is very dangerous for kittens, often causing sudden or rapid death. Rabies, of course, is for human health. That's to protect our house held pets from bringing any kind of rabies into our life. If they've been out mousing or they've played with a bat in your house, we want to make sure that they don't end up with rabies, causing you to be exposed. FeLV is leukemia. That can cause blood disorders such as anemia, an inability to fight infections, and in some cases, tumors. FIP is feline infectious peritonitis. We no longer have a vaccine for that. We did it one time, and we no longer have an FIV feline immunosuppressive virus vaccine. So for that, we can't vaccinate, but we can help protect our pets by other mechanisms.
What is the vaccination schedule for kittens, adult cats, and senior cats?
Typically, kittens get two vaccinations. One at around eight weeks and one at about 12 weeks. That will include the FVRCP, Feline leukemia, which is recommended for all kittens, not just kittens that are outside or from farms, and rabies. In most cases, we want to do vaccination for rabies for our cats as well, even though they may not be outside much. We still see exposure to rabies, so it's important that we do that. It is not required in cats as it is in dogs in some municipalities, but it is in others. You need to know what your local ordinances say about rabies for cats.
Are there any risks or side effects associated with cat vaccinations?
There are, but they're pretty rare. If there is a reaction, it's usually just a day that they're quiet, don't eat very much, and maybe run a mild fever. By the next day, they bounce right back. Cats recover very quickly from their vaccinations.
If my cat is going to live indoors strictly, do they still need to be vaccinated?
Yes. Like I said before, bats can end up in your home, and cats can sneak out. Even though you don't think that they will, they sometimes get through the door, and cats can meet other cats through the screen door of your porch or the window of your bedroom. There are definitely exposures, even if your cat is exclusively indoors.
Why is it important to avoid missing a cat vaccination?
A lapse in protection can lead to a serious infection. If it's rabies and there's an exposure, you may end up with your cat in quarantine. It's very important that we keep our cats up to date on other vaccinations for their protection and for ours.
If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (920) 269-4072, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.