Why are vaccinations important for cats?
To protect your kitten from contracting a number of serious feline-specific diseases, it is essential to have your kitten vaccinated. After your kitten's first vaccinations it is equally important to follow up with regular booster shots throughout your cat's lifetime.
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.
Types of Cat Vaccines
Vaccinations for cats fall into two basic types.
Core vaccinations are recommended for all cats. These pet vaccinations are considered vital for protecting your cat from the following common and serious feline conditions:
- Panleukopenia (feline distemper)
- Feline calicivirus (FCV)
- 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:
- Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
- Chlamydophila felis
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
At what point should my kitten get its first vaccinations?
At about six to eight weeks of age your kitten should see the veterinarian for their first round of vaccinations. After that, your kitten should receive a series of vaccines at three or four-week intervals until they are about 16 weeks old.
At what age will my cat need their booster shots?
Adult cats should receive booster shots either yearly or every three years depending on the vaccine. Your vet will advise you on when you bring your adult cat back for their booster shots.
Is my kitten protected after they have their first round of vaccinations?
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.
Do indoor cats need to be vaccinated?
You may not think that your indoor cat needs to be vaccinated, however many states including Tennessee require that cats over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against rabies. When you have your cat vaccinated your vet will provide you with a certificate of vaccination which you should store in a safe place.
When it comes to your cat's health it's always better to err on the side of caution. Cats can be curious creatures. Our vets recommend that indoor cats receive all of the core vaccinations to protect against diseases they may be exposed to if they manage to escape the safety of home.