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When Can Kittens Get Their Shots

Previously Vaccinated But Overdue

What & How to Feed Kittens age 4 to 6 Weeks old

If your cat has previously been vaccinated, but is overdue their booster, they might have a bit of protection for two to three months after it was due, but after that they will be at risk again. Follow the guidance below until they are fully protected:

  • If they are a house cat, continue keeping them indoors and prevent other cats coming into the house.
  • Wash your hands after going outside, especially if you have touched any other cats.
  • If they go outdoors, but are happy to stay inside, keep them in as much as possible.
  • During this time monitor them for stress and allow them outside again if they appear unsettled.
  • Stress can be very bad for cat health and cause problems such as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis and blocked bladders.
  • Dont keep your cat indoors if they have previously suffered with stress related illness.

Adult Cats Booster Vaccinations

A tailored vaccine program can be developed with your Greencross Vets clinic.

  • Cats require booster vaccinations to ensure long-term immunity against contagious diseases. This is given one year after your cats 14-16 week vaccination
  • At that stage, your friendly Greencross Vets team will work with you to determine the most suitable ongoing vaccination program guided by your cats lifestyle and environment
  • If your cat is exposed to the outdoors or other neighbourhood cats, consider incorporating the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus vaccine into your cats program

Kitten Vaccinations: What Shots Your Kitten Needs

Between six and eight weeks of age, your kitten should see the veterinarian to begin a series of kitten vaccinations.

If youre asking, What vaccines do kittens need?, you can expect them to receive vaccines for rabies, and several rounds of vaccines for upper respiratory infections and distemper. If any cats in your home spend time outdoors or with other cats, you should also consider getting them vaccinated against the feline leukemia virus.

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Cost Of Kitten And/or Cat Vaccinations

The cost of vaccinating your kitten can vary widely depending on your geographical location, the individual veterinary practice you visit, the type of vaccine, and many other factors. Costs ranging from $20-$45 are not unusual for an individual vaccination alone, and most veterinarians will want to perform a physical examination before vaccinating your cat, which can add an additional $50-$100 to the total cost. Your kitten may need to receive more than one vaccine during a visit as well. For instance, your kitten may need to receive a rabies vaccine along with the FVRCP vaccine.

Many practices offer packages that include multiple procedures for kittens. For instance, a new kitten might receive a physical examination, a first vaccination, a deworming, a test for feline leukemia, and a fecal examination all during the same visit. Some veterinary hospitals offer a special price for these packaged services. Costs may range from $70-$250, or more if spay/neuter surgery or other services are included in the package.

Will My Kitten Be Required To Have A Booster Injection

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A booster injection should be given against cat flu, feline panleukopenia and feline leukaemia between 12 and 16 weeks.

Once your kitten is a year old, your vet should also administer the annual boosters for the same viruses.

Read about kitten boosters to understand which injections your kitten will be required to have, and when.

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When Should My Kitten Have Their First Vaccination

Kittens need a course of two vaccinations to protect them from potentially fatal infections feline infectious enteritis and feline influenza .

There is also a vaccination that offers protection from the feline leukaemia virus which can affect the immune system.

The first injection can be given from nine weeks of age, with the second three to four weeks after the first injection.

Kittens should be kept away from other cats and stay indoors for seven days after the second injection to ensure maximum protection.

To maintain the level of protection provided by vaccination, adult cats require regular boosters. Your vet will advise on what is required and when.

Why Should I Have My Female Cat Spayed

Spaying young cats offers several advantages:

  • Your cat will avoid heat periods, which usually begin at six to seven months of age and occur every two to three weeks in an unbred cat. During the heat period, female cats encourage the attention of male cats. The female cat will posture and vocalize, which can be annoying to owners so too can the presence of neighborhood male cats that mark the territory outside your house and fight off other suitors. Sometimes the natural urge to mate is so strong that your indoor cat will attempt to escape outdoors to breed.
  • Spaying prevents unplanned litters of kittens that often never find suitable homes.
  • Spaying prior to the first heat cycle greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer.
  • Spaying prevents cancers or infections of the reproductive organs.

Spaying a cat may be a common procedure, but all surgery must be taken seriously. The correct term for spaying is ovariohysterectomy, and refers to the complete removal of the uterus and ovaries under general anesthesia. An overnight stay in the hospital may be advised to allow close monitoring during recovery and provide adequate pain control .

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Vaccines Your Kitten Should Have

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Adopting a new kitten means going through many milestones together, including bringing your cat home for the first time, litter training her and introducing her to other animals to name a few. Other important first steps will take place in your veterinarian’s office. From vaccinations to spaying and neutering, being a new pet parent comes with new responsibilities.

To help you prepare, here’s a list of the most common kitten vaccinations vets recommend and why they’re important for your new family member. Educate yourself first, and then work with your vet to create a vaccine schedule right for your family.

Myth: Indoor Cats Dont Need To Be Vaccinated

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Some of the nastier viruses, such as feline panleukopenia virus, are equivalent to a super-villain in terms of toughness. They can survive on sidewalks in all weathers for long periods of time. If you walk on the virus, you can bring it indoors on your shoes, so not even indoor cats are safe.

Therein lies the crunch. An indoor cat is at low risk but not no risk. However, your veterinarian will risk asses the cat and may opt out of vaccinating against conditions that require close contact to spread, such as feline leukemia virus.

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Vaccines Truths And Myths

As with many medical interventions, there is often a misunderstanding of the benefits and risks of vaccination. This misunderstanding can sometimes lead well intentioned cat owners to make misinformed decisions about this vital aspect of feline health maintenance. Here are some examples of truths and myths regarding feline vaccination.

Truths:

  • Vaccination protects all cats by making disease transmission less likely
  • No vaccine is 100 percent effective, and the effectiveness of different vaccines varies
  • Although uncommon, all feline vaccines carry the risk of feline injection site sarcoma

Myths:

  • Vaccinating a cat against a disease can treat that disease
  • Vaccinating a cat against a disease causes that disease
  • All cats should receive every vaccine available for cats

Are There Risks Associated With Cat Vaccinations

Cat vaccinations stimulate your kitten or cat’s immune system in order to create protection from specific infectious diseases. This can cause mild symptoms to occur ranging from soreness at the injection site to fever and allergic reactions. Cat vaccinations can cause other risks like injection site tumors and immune disease, however, such incidences are extremely rare and can be linked to pre-existing genetic and medical conditions. Because of the potential for injection site reactions, we give each vaccine in a specific location that is noted in the cat’s medical record.

The fact is, the rewards of cat vaccinations far outweigh any risks. Cat vaccines 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.

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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.

What Diseases Should Cats Be Vaccinated Against

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The core vaccines for cats in the UK protect against:

  • feline enteritis: Feline infectious enteritis is a disease caused when cats become infected with feline parvovirus . It spreads easily in unhygienic conditions and is sadly often fatal, with unvaccinated kittens being most at risk. Not all infected cats show symptoms, but those that do may vomit, become unable to eat or drink, and have watery diarrhoea.
  • feline influenza, or cat flu: Cat flu is like a human flu it can cause a runny nose and eyes, and a sore throat. Other symptoms include aches and pains in the muscles and joints, mouth ulcers, dribbling, sneezing, loss of voice and fever. Cat flu is not usually serious in adult cats, although they can be quite ill. However it can be serious, even fatal, in kittens, and in adult cats with other serious underlying illnesses. Read more about cat flu here.
  • If your cat goes outside, or lives with cats who go outside, we recommend vaccinating them against feline leukaemia virus: Feline leukaemia virus is an incurable viral infection that eventually produces fatal illness in cats which become permanently infected. It is estimated that one to two per cent of cats in Britain are permanently infected, and the majority die within four years of FeLV detection. Read more advice about FeLV here.

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How Kitten Vaccinations Work

Kittens receive a series of vaccines over an 8- to 12-week period beginning at between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Some vaccines might be given together in one injection that is called a combination vaccine. At your kitten’s first veterinary exam, your vet will discuss a vaccination schedule as well as other treatments, such as deworming and beginning parasite prevention.

The vaccine injection itself is typically not very painful. Your kitten may feel a little pinch or sting, but many do not react at all.

At the first vaccine visit, your veterinarian will do an examination before vaccinating your kitten. Vaccines should never be given to a kitten with a fever or illness as the vaccine will not be effective. Giving a vaccine to a sick kitten can actually make her feel worse.

After a vaccine is administered, immunity is not immediate. It takes about seven to 10 days after the second vaccination to become effective. However, kittens with remaining maternal antibodies for that disease will not be affected by the vaccine. There is no way to be certain if a kitten still has maternal antibodies, so boosters are necessary. True immunity is uncertain until about 16 to 18 weeks of age, or until all kitten boosters are completed. Avoid exposing your kitten to unknown animals until all vaccinations have been given.

What Diseases Do Vaccinations Protect My Kitten Against

There are many diseases out there which could make your kitten severely ill, but vaccinations will protect them from most of these. Depending on their lifestyle, they may not need every jab but you should always consult your vet for the best advice on what they need.

  • Feline parvovirus FPV, also known as feline panleukopenia, is often fatal in kittens. The disease attacks the gut and immune system causing diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Cat Flu – There are two viruses which cause cat fluFeline Herpes Virus and Feline Calicivirus . Just as human flu can make you feel pretty bad, cat flu can lay your pet low for a while. However, cats can become lifelong carriers of the disease, suffering regular flare ups. Its particularly dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for kittens.
  • Feline Leukaemia Virus FeLV, which attacks the immune system and causes cancers, weight loss, vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhoea. FeLV damages the immune system, meaning theyll require lifelong specialist care to keep them cancer free for as long as possible.
  • Rabies Rabies is a virus which is fatal to both animals and humans, attacking the brain and nerve cells. The UK has been rabies-free since the early 20th Century but its still prevalent in other parts of the world so your kitten will need a vaccination if you intend to travel abroad with them.

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How Much Do Kitten Vaccines Cost

Bringing a new kitten into the family involves a multitude of expenses, and vaccines are a part of them. The cost of vaccines for your kitten can vary based on a number of factors such as your location, your veterinarian, the type of vaccine, etc.

In general, however, you can expect the cost of a single vaccine to range anywhere from $25 to $50. That said, some veterinarians may offer multiple services for your kitten vaccines, an examination, and deworming, for example packaged within a single price.

The frequent vet visits involved in the kitten vaccination schedule, these costs can add up, so it can be helpful to talk to your veterinarian ahead of time if you have any concerns about vaccine pricing.

When Should My Kitten Be Vaccinated

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Vaccinations are important for your young kitten. Some infectious diseases are fatal, and vaccinations can protect your kitten from many of these diseases. In order to be effective, immunizations must be given as a series of injections at prescribed intervals, so it is essential that you are on time for your kittens scheduled vaccinations. Immunizations are started at 6-8 weeks of age and are repeated every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 4 months old.

The routine or core vaccinations will protect your kitten from the most common diseases: feline distemper , feline viral rhinotracheitis , calicivirus, and rabies. The first three are included in a combination vaccine given every three to four weeks until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age. Rabies vaccine is usually given once at 12-16 weeks of age.

“Your veterinarian will assess your kittens lifestyle and discuss these vaccinations with you to help you decide what is best for your cat.”

Non-core vaccines are not administered to every kitten, but are recommended in certain areas for cats with certain lifestyles. Cats that live outdoors are at more risk for infectious disease and often need these additional vaccines. One non- core vaccine for chlamydophila may be given if this disease is common in your area. Feline leukemia vaccine is recommended for all kittens that are exposed to outdoor cats, so if your kitten goes outside or lives with another cat that goes in and out, feline leukemia vaccine may be added to the regimen.

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Why Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccinations

If your cat lives exclusively indoors, they will still need to be vaccinated against cat flu and panleukopenia, but may not need the FeLV vaccine. This is because FeLV only usually spreads between cats in close and regular contact, but cat flu and panleukopaenia are very infectious and can spread on clothes, shoes, and other surfaces. If you have an indoor cat, discuss their vaccinations with your vet to find the best schedule for them.

What If I Adopted My Kitten

If you adopt a kitten or cat from us, they’ll be vaccinated before they leave our care. That’s one of the reasons we charge an adoption fee when we rehome an animal.

Some kittens may be rehomed before they’re ready for their second set of vaccinations. If this is the case, we’ll let you know and may arrange for you and your kitten to come back at a later date. Otherwise, you can make arrangements with your local vet.

If you’re looking to buy a cat from a breeder, take a look at our advice on what to look for when buying a kitten.

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Keep A Happy Home With Feliway

A calm, supporting environment can help your cat feel safe, happy and healthy. Using a FELIWAY OPTIMUM Diffuser in the rooms where your cat spends the most time can help to support them, by releasing calming messages that reduce kitty stress and prevent signs of discomfort such as spraying, scratching or hiding.

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