What Shots Do Cats Need
Cats should receive four core vaccinations to protect themselves from highly contagious viruses. These are the shots that your cats need:
- Calicivirus shot: This virus is highly contagious and causes problems in the upper respiratory system of your cat. It can eventually lead to gum sores, conjunctivitis, and lameness.
- Feline Herpesvirus shot: It is another contagious virus that spreads through sneezing, inhalation of droplets, sharing of food and water bowl, and sharing of the litter box. It can cause infections to the upper respiratory system of your cat.
- Panleukopenia shot: This virus can cause high fever, vomiting, and sometimes, sudden death. A distemper shot is known to be effective in fighting this virus.
- Rabies shot: This shot is required because rabies cannot only harm your pet, it can also cause death to humans. Rabies virus is passed on most often through bites and scratches.
There are bacterial infections and viruses that can cause serious illness and even death to your cat. Certain kinds of vaccines were created to fight those diseases. These shots are needed by cats in a specific dose and age.
Vaccines can protect your cat from:
- Bordetella bronchiseptica FeLV
Do Kittens Need A Special Diet
Diet is extremely important for a growing kitten. There are many commercial foods specially formulated for kittens. These foods meet their unique nutritional requirements and should be fed until 12 months of age. Kitten foods are available in dry and canned formulations. Dry foods are less expensive and can be left in the bowl for the kitten to eat at will. Kittens will eat small amounts as often as 12 times during the day. Canned foods offer a change and are just as nutritious.
We recommend that you buy FOOD FORMULATED FOR KITTENS. Adult formulations are not recommended since they do not provide the nutrition required for a kitten. Advertisements tend to promote taste rather than nutrition so one should be careful that their influence on purchasing habits is not detrimental to one’s cat. Generic foods should be avoided. Table food is not recommended although often more appealing than cat food, balanced, complete nutrition is usually compromised. Dog food should not be fed to cats since it is deficient in vital nutrients and the amount of protein required by kittens and adult cats.
What Should I Consider Before Adopting Or Buying A Kitten
You want to ensure that you’re going to have a good relationship with the pet. If you’re in a rental situation, make sure your landlord is okay with you having a cat, as not every landlord is. But the biggest thing is that kittens are dependent on you to make sure that their litter box is clean and they have fresh food and water and things like that. And kittens love a lot of social interaction, so you want to make sure that they can get that as well. And so, if you’re going to be gone 16 to 18 hours a day, then it might be a little challenging for your new companion at home to make that adjustment because they’ll want to have that interaction with you.
You May Like: How Much Should A 12 Week Old Kitten Weigh
Can You Give Cats Multiple Vaccines At Once
If your cat has always been able to tolerate vaccinations, you can give him or her multiple boosters at the same time. The same is true for cats we need two or three shots at the same time to keep us safe from diseases like chickenpox or MMR.
A vaccination is a treatment that involves injecting a mixture of molecules to induce an immune response to a specific disease. All cats must be vaccinated against rabies, which is mandated by state law. Its fine to do it if theyre in 100% of the time, even if its not 100% of the time. During the course of 16 weeks, a majority of kittens will be immune to disease. Because rabies is such a potent vaccine, there is little interference with maternal antibodies. If we have a cat that is relatively sedentary outside, I usually do not give him or her leukemia vaccines until he or she is 10 to 11 years old. When we inject our body with any type of drug, there are some risks, but these are usually very minor.
Giving your cat this vaccine will protect them from disease and help them live a long and healthy life. Because distemper is a very contagious virus that can cause serious respiratory problems in cats, over vaccination can be harmful. It is critical to have your cat vaccinated against this virus, but it is also critical to remember that not all vaccines should be given, and that it is best to consult with your veterinarian to find the most effective vaccination protocol for your cat.
Recommended Reading: Why Do Cats Lay On Their Back
Are There Any Risks Or Side Effects Associated With Kitten Vaccines
We tend to see sometimes that they can be a little sore at the injection site. It’s not uncommonif you go to get your annual flu shot or any other vaccine and your arms are a little sore for a day, so we can notice that. Sometimes they can be a little sleepy too. Vaccines drain you of your energy for 24 hours, and those are some things that we can notice, but for the most part, I don’t feel like I ever have owners feel like they have a concern.
Read Also: Should I Put My Cat Down
Kitten Vaccination Schedule And Costs
Kittens are most susceptible to infectious diseases when they are under 6 months of age. Thats why its so important to give your kitten the protection they need with the right vaccinations.
Mother cats pass maternal antibodies through their milk during nursing. These antibodies do offer some degree of protection against diseases, but they also interfere with, or even inactivate, the bodys response to vaccination.
For this reason, core kitten vaccinations start at 6-8 weeks of age and are boosted every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 16-20 weeks old. Core vaccines should be boosted one year after the initial series.
When Should Vaccinations Begin
Kittens are provided some immunity to feline diseases before and shortly after birth. The mother’s antibodies cross the placenta and enter the kittens’ circulation. Some antibodies are also provided in the mother’s milk. These “maternal antibodies” protect the kittens against the diseases to which the mother is immune. This explains why is it desirable to booster the mother’s vaccinations within a few months prior to breeding.
Although very protective, maternal antibodies last for only a few weeks after this time, the kitten becomes susceptible to disease. The vaccination program should be started at about 6 to 8 weeks of age. Kittens should be vaccinated against feline enteritis , respiratory organisms , and rabies. If the kitten will be allowed to go outdoors or to be in contact with cats that go outdoors, leukemia and feline infectious peritonitis vaccine should also be considered. Your cat’s needs will be discussed at the time of the first visit for vaccinations.
Maternal antibodies are passed in the mother’s milk only during the first 1-3 days after delivery. If, for any reason, the kittens do not nurse during this important period of time, their vaccinations should begin about 2 to 4 weeks of age, depending on likely disease exposure. A veterinarian can make specific recommendations for each particular situation.
Also Check: Why Is My Cat Rolling Around
What Should I Ask My Veterinarian At My Kitten’s First Appointment
If you have any specific questions, save them till the end, because they may answer them before you even get there. We like to spend at least a good 30 minutes with clients that have a new kitten and make sure that all their questions are answered, and that they have access to information that they’re going to need from home also.
Myth: Vaccines Do More Harm Than Good
Every responsible cat parent is right to make an informed decision about whats best for their pet as an individual. However, when weighing up the pros and cons of vaccination, its relevant to know the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Diseases such as cat flu, distemper, and feline leukemia are still out there and have life-changing consequences. Balance this against the risks of vaccination which can be divided into common-but-mild reactions and rare-but-serious, as outlined below.
Recommended Reading: What Does It Mean When A Cat Coughs
What Vaccinations Should I Make Sure My New Kitten Has
Vaccinating your kitten helps protect their health, making it vital they are placed on the right vaccination programme at the appropriate age.
There are several vaccines available, and in general terms they can be split into two categories:
- Non-essential vaccines
Core vaccines are recommended for all kittens and cats regardless of their lifestyle, whilst non-essential will be recommended depending on the risk of exposure to the specific disease or virus.
Your vet is the best person to recommend the most suitable vaccination programme for your kittens lifestyle.
What Vaccines Do Cats Need
The Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel regularly evaluates and researches cat vaccination developments to make science-based recommendations.
The panel is comprised of dedicated feline veterinarians and scientists and is regarded as a reputable source of cat vaccination standards.
Their guidelines, published by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, are among the most trusted and utilized recommendations in the field.
They divide cat vaccines into two categories:
* FeLV: highly recommended for kittens and optional for adult cats.
** Rabies: 3-year vs 1-year vaccine depending on state laws.
You May Like: How To Move My Cat Across The Country
Schedule For Kitten Vaccinations
Vaccinations are very important to your new kittens health and wellbeing! Here at Cat Care Center, we follow the AAFP guidelines for vaccinations. This means that your kitten will receive the following booster vaccinations during 3 visits, each 3-4 weeks apart.
- 3 to 4 FVRCP vaccinations, which protect your cat from Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia , until at least 16-20 weeks of age
- 2 FeLV vaccinations, which protect your cat from Feline Leukemia Virus
- 1 Rabies vaccination
How Do Vaccinations Work
Vaccinations prepare the immune system to recognise and fight off a particular disease quickly, preventing it from taking hold in the body. Vaccines work because they typically contain a dead or weakened disease giving the immune system time to build up resistance, ready to fight disease faster in the future, and keep your kitty healthy!
If your new pet hasnt had any vaccinations before you bring them home, they wont have any resistance or protection against common kitty illnesses. So for this reason, its best to keep your cat away from neighbourhood cats and indoors until they have had their shots.
Recommended Reading: Are Oriental Lilies Poisonous To Cats
Cat Vaccinations Protect Your Pet
The first reason is that by vaccinating your cat, youre protecting him from serious diseases that he could contract every year. Vaccinations only provide optimal immunity for so long, which is why vets recommend that you booster your cats vaccinations yearly.
Even thought your cat might stay indoors, they can still be exposed to extremely contagious diseases. That exposure can occur if your cat ever escapes from your house. Even if your cat doesnt get out on their own, if you take them to the groomer or ever board them at a facility, they can be exposed to these diseases.
Also Check: Flea Tick And Worm Treatment For Cats
Why Should I Have My Male Cat Neutered
Neutering or castration refers to the complete removal of the testicles in a male cat, and like spaying, offers health advantages:
- Unneutered males are involved in more cat fights than their neutered friends.
- Some male cats go through a significant personality change when they mature, becoming possessive of their territory and marking it with their urine to ward off other cats. Intruding cats that disregard the urine warning may be met with aggression.
- The urine of an unneutered male cat has a very strong odor that is difficult to remove from your house if he marks his territory. Unneutered males will spray inside the house and will have litter box issues.
- Fighting increases the risk of infectious diseases like feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia.
- Unneutered males may be less friendly toward their human family members too.
Male cats are usually neutered between 4-6 months of age under general anesthesia. Unless there are complications such as undescended testicles , the cat may go home the same day . Cats with undescended testicles should be neutered too. The testicles still produce testosterone and these cats still act like unneutered males. These cats are at a high risk for developing cancer later in life.
Read Also: How Much To Get My Cat Fixed
What Other Vaccines Should I Consider
Your vet may also discuss the rabies vaccine with you. Whether this is necessary will depend on your kittens lifestyle and if you have any plans to travel with them. For example, if you wish to travel with your kitten within the EU, the rabies vaccine is mandatory.
Making sure your kitten has the right vaccinations at the right age, is one of the most important things you can do to protect their health throughout their life.
Why Vaccinate Your Kitten
When kittens are born, their immune systems are not fully developed and they are unable to fight disease on their own. Fortunately, they are able to get some protection from their mothers. Nursing mothers provide antibody-rich milk called colostrum. These maternal antibodies provide kittens with temporary immunity against illness. The length of this immunity varies from kitten to kitten. Protection from maternal antibodies generally fades after a few weeks.
There is no easy way to know exactly when a kitten is vulnerable to a specific disease. In an effort to strategically protect kittens from diseases, veterinarians administer vaccinations at strategic intervals. A vaccine is designed to trigger an immune response and prevent future infection from that disease.
All kittens need certain core vaccines, which provide immunity against the most dangerous and widespread diseases. Core vaccines are considered essential for kittens in most geographical locations.
Also Check: Cat Skin Problems Home Remedies
How Often Does My Kitten Need To Go To The Vet
We see kittens pretty frequently while they’re little, up until they’re about four months of age, and then we generally see them around six to eight months of age for their spay or neuter, if that’s what you choose to do. And when they’re younger, we see them for their vaccines, exams, dewormings, all of that stuff, making sure everything looks good, happy, and healthy. And then, from there, we like to see them about every year to keep those vaccines up to date. And, of course, we can see them in between if they have any health concerns.
More About Vaccinating Your Cat
Kittens are old enough to be vaccinated once they are 8-9 weeks old. They will have an initial injection, and then a second about 3 weeks later, as well as a thorough health check, and discussion about all aspects of kitten-care, including neutering, flea and worm protection, diet and behaviour. This is known as the primary course. Kittens should then have an annual vaccination appointment each year, throughout their lives, in order keep their immunity topped up and maintain protection.
For adult cats, if you are not sure if your cat has had vaccinations previously, or if you know that they have not had a vaccination appointment within the last 12 months, your cat may need to restart their vaccinations with a primary course, just as if they were a kitten. Adult cats can start the primary course at any time, but if you know your cat is currently not protected by vaccination, the course should be started as soon as possible.
Although your cat will need a vaccination appointment every year, not all the vaccines will be given at every appointment. This is because different vaccines last for different amounts of time, and the need for some vaccinations may be lifestyle dependent. Your vet will be able to advise on the best schedule for your cat.
The medical exam also allows the vet to check if there are any visible reasons to delay vaccination, for example if your cat is already fighting an active infection.
Read Also: My Dog Will Only Eat Cat Food
What Do Newborn Kittens Need
While the queen will usually provide her kittens with warmth and nutrition, it’s good to know what kittens require, in case you need to help. It can be difficult to know how to properly care for vulnerable newborn kittens. Watch our video for advice on how to look after newborn kittens in their early development including healthy weights, healthy physical developments, and how to look after newborn kittens.
Weeks: Kittens Open Their Eyes And Ears
Kittens come into the world with their eyes and ears closed and spend the first week or so of their lives blind and deaf. Their eyes open during the second week, but their vision isn’t very good at this point, and they’ll need to be kept out of bright light, says The Spruce Pets. The blue eyes that kittens are born with may start to change color during their third week, which is also when their ears begin to open and perk up, introducing them to a whole new world filled with sound.
Kittens have the ability to make sounds from birth, and may be heard making little mews to let their mother know they’re hungry, says Catster. Purring typically begins during week three, and kittens tend to become more vocal as they start being able to walk, play and explore their surroundings.
Read Also: Best Feline Friend Cat Food