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When Should My Kitten Get Shots

What Are Cat Vaccinations

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Several serious feline-specific diseases afflict many cats every year. To protect your kitten from contracting a preventable condition, its critical to have them vaccinated. Its equally imperative to follow up your kittens first vaccinations with regular booster shots during their lifetime, even if you expect Fluffy to be an indoor companion.

The aptly named booster shots boost your cats protection against a variety of feline diseases after the effects of the initial vaccine wear off. There are booster shots for different vaccines given on specific schedules. Your vet can provide advice on when you should bring your cat back for more booster shots.

Are Cat Vaccinations Necessary

Some cat vaccinations, I would say, are necessary for pretty much every cat. The most important one would be the rabies vaccine required by state law for all cats. Even if they’re inside 100% of the time, it’s a good idea to do it still. Bats can get in the house Anybody that’s got an old camper or an old house here in Maine will know that you get a bat in the house here and there. You don’t always necessarily know if that bat has interacted with your cat or even with you when you’ve been asleep. You can’t tell if you’ve been bitten sometimes, and that’s still a potential vector for rabies. We must keep all of our pets safe so that we keep ourselves safe.

Even for indoor cats, I recommend doing distemper shots every three years until they’re about anywhere between 8 to 10 years old. That’s just to protect them against potential exposure through a screen, or if you decide to get a kitten, to keep them safe. For cats going outside, I also recommend the leukemia vaccine because that is a disease that we can’t cure, and it can cause several health problems. Leukemia is transmitted from cat to cat, usually through an aggressive activity like scratching or biting.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule: A Guide For New Cat Owners

Randa is a writer & former assoc. digital content editor at the American Kennel Club. She’s also mom to 1 Corgi & 2 orange cats.

Congratulations on your new kitten! All of the snuggles, playtime, and endless joys of having a feline friend in your life are finally here.

As you cross off items on your new kitten checklist, one of the most important things you can do for your new family member is to take them to the veterinarian for their vaccinations.

Vaccinations are essential for protecting your kitten from certain illnesses and preventing the spread of disease. In this article, well walk you through kitten vaccine basics, tell you what to expect at your first check-up, and give you a sample cat vaccination schedule to follow.

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Does My Kitten Need Only Core Vaccines

Cats that go outside, live in multi-cat households where other cats go outside, or cats that go to boarding kennels should receive the feline leukemia vaccine. Feline leukemia is spread by any bodily secretion , so direct contact with other infected cats is not necessary to transmit disease. There is no cure if a cat becomes infected and cannot clear the virus. The virus suppresses the immune system and predisposes cats to lymphoma, and deadly infections. It is recommended that all kittens receive the feline leukemia vaccine the first year of life, as many kittens that were initially going to be indoor only, start going outside. The feline leukemia vaccine is given at 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Core Vaccines For Cats

Give Your Kitten Its Best Shot at Good Health

Core vaccines are vaccines that all cats should get.

The basic core starts with vaccination for calicivirus , herpes virus and panleukopenia , Dr. Eldredge told The Dodo. Feline leukemia and rabies are also considered to be core vaccines for most cats.

Herpes virus , calicivirus and panleukopenia are all covered in one combination vaccine called the FVRCP vaccine, while the vaccines for feline leukemia and rabies are administered individually.

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Is Your Cats Rabies Vaccination Current

Not to put too fine a point on it, but for unvaccinated cats and kittens, a rabies infection is a death sentence. Even an initial rabies vaccination, whether during kittenhood or prior to adoption in older cats, is a better guarantor than none at all. For the long-term health of your cat, it is worth having a serious conversation with your cats vet about rabies shots.

People have known about and feared rabies for thousands of years. Only a couple of people in the United States die from rabies infections each year, which may lead us to assume that it poses limited danger or none at all. This is a fallacy the relative rarity of rabies in America is precisely because of the accessibility and dependability of vaccines.

Indoor cats have an approximate lifespan of 15-plus years. If you follow a strict three-year vaccination schedule or determine along with your veterinarian that there is some room for negotiation, thats a total of three to five visits over the course of your cats life. That should not be considered an undue commitment or investment for any cat owner.

How Often Do Cats Need Shots To Protect Against Rabies

The final common vaccine in cats protects against rabies. I have written many times that rabies is the most deadly infectious disease of both cats and humans. Truly, there is no disease that should be more dreaded. Rabies is spread through direct contact with infected mammals. Could an indoor cat be exposed to rabies? It is not likely but it is theoretically possible I have heard of rabid bats flying down chimneys or through open windows.

Should the owner of an indoor cat vaccinate his pet against rabies? That depends upon a number of factors, including your tolerance for risk, local laws , and a cats likelihood of biting people .

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When Do Kittens Get Their First Shots

If a kittens mother was appropriately vaccinated, then the kitten will have received maternal antibodies in utero. These antibodies help protect the newborn kitten against the diseases that we vaccinate against. These maternal antibodies, can stick around in a kittens system for up to 16 weeks and can interfere with the immune response desired from vaccination. Because of this, we do not recommend giving the first FVRCP vaccine until 8 weeks of age, when the maternal antibodies are starting to decline.

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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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What Is The Kitten Vaccination Schedule

All kittens need vaccinations to help keep them healthy. Vaccinations, by definition, protect your kitten from contracting specific diseases. Cat vaccinations are divided into two types:

  • Core cat vaccinations are those that protect against especially common and/or particularly dangerous diseases and are recommended for all kittens and adult cats.
  • Non-core vaccinations are not necessarily recommended for all cats. Instead, these vaccines are recommended only for those cats that are at high risk of infection. In the case of non-core vaccinations, your cats lifestyle must be evaluated to determine the risk of disease and whether the risk associated with vaccination is greater than the risk of your cat getting the disease.

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.

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What To Expect At A Vaccine Appointment

  • Your vet will give your cat a full health check to make sure they are okay to have a vaccination and if they are concerned about anything they may delay the injection until they are better.
  • Your cats vaccine will be an injection under the skin. You might be asked to hold him/her still while the injection is given, but if you dont feel comfortable doing so just let your vet know.
  • Vaccinations arent usually painful, but they can feel cold or sometimes sting a little, and every cat reacts slightly differently.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your cat, the vaccination appointment is a good opportunity to discuss them, for example if you think they might be gaining weight, need a worming tablet, or youre having trouble with dental care.

How Often Do My Kittens Need A Vaccine

Rabies Vaccinations for Indoor Cats

It is recommended that kittens receive the core FVRCP vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. The reason the vaccines are repeated is to boost the immune response. Ideally, the final vaccine is given around or after 16 weeks, to ensure that the maternal antibodies have left the system. Rabies can be given after 12 weeks of age and is usually given at the 16-week vaccine appointment.

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What Vaccines Do Kittens Need

Vaccinations can help prevent serious illness by building up your kittens immunity to potentially fatal diseases. They can also help to prevent the spread of disease to other cats, and more rarely, humans.

The core vaccines all kittens in Australia must receive are feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus and feline panleukopaenia. Common non-core vaccinations include feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukemia and feline chlamydia.

Kitten And Cat Vaccinations

  • Cats and kittens in the UK need to be vaccinated against feline enteritis and cat flu
  • Cats and kittens who go outside will also need to be vaccinated against feline leukaemia
  • Some boosters may be needed annually, but others may be needed every three years
  • Rabies, bordetella and chlamydia vaccines are also available for cats in the UK but these are considered non-core

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How Often Do Cats Need Flea Prevention

The question, How often do cats need shots? arose out of the context of flea prevention. Do all cats require flea preventatives, or are they more important for outdoor cats? Many people believe that fleas are contagious and are transmitted from pet to pet. Although a flea-infested cat may spread the infestation to any cat with whom he comes into contact, remember that fleas, although thoroughly detestable, have a remarkable capacity for spreading and surviving. Fleas can roam freely and can make their way into houses under their own steam. Therefore, indoor-only cats are at risk of flea infestation even if they do not come into contact with any other animals.

This does not necessarily mean that every cat requires a monthly flea preventative. Cats with no skin problems and no visible flea infestation can often get by with only occasional applications of flea preventatives. So, in short, flea prevention can be considered optional for all cats, but especially for indoor cats.

Be aware, however, that fleas are insidious, and it is not uncommon for cat owners to be unaware of significant infestations on their pets. Modern flea preventatives generally are safe, and fleas can cause all sorts of health problems. Therefore, unless you really know how to monitor for fleas, its better to err on the side of using flea preventatives rather than risking an infestation.

What If I Adopted My Kitten

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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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When Should Kittens Be Vaccinated

Your kitten will need two sets of vaccinations to get them started – their first set at nine weeks old and a second booster set at three months old. After this, kittens and cats usually need ‘booster’ vaccinations once a year.

Until your kitten is fully vaccinated , you should keep him or her inside.

How Does Feline Leukemia Spread From Cat To Cat

Feline leukemia is transmitted from cat to cat during close social contact.

FeLV transmission generally takes place during close social contact between infected and uninfected, unvaccinated cats. The virus is shed principally in saliva, but it is also present in blood, urine, faeces, tears and nasal secretions, as well as in the milk of infected mothers.

The virus is primarily passed on by oral or nasal exposure to viral particles, but it can also be spread via bite wounds. Common methods of transmission include food and water dishes, shared litterboxes, and mutual grooming between cats that are affectionate to one another.

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Can You Recommend Something For Pet Identification

All cats should have identification. Even strictly-indoor cats have been known to escape the confines of their safe homes and become lost. Cats often do not tolerate collars well, so ID tags are not the best option for pet identification. The best way to identify your cat is to have your veterinarian insert a microchip under the skin. A microchip, pictured to the right with pennies for scale, is a tiny device that is implanted with a needle much like any other injection. The microchip contains a unique number that you register with a database along with your contact information.

Veterinary hospitals, Humane Societies, and animal shelters have electronic scanners that detect the presence of a microchip and access your cat’s unique identification. Microchips and data registry assist the reunion of cats with their families throughout the United States and Canada. For more details, see handout Microchipping Your Cat.

Adding a kitten to your family is a lot of fun. Remember that kittens are very energetic, so be prepared to build play routines into your daily routine. Discourage play that encourages your kitten to play with your hands directly and offer kitten safe, stimulating toys. Providing your kitten with the health care she needs will set her up for a long, healthy, happy life.

Feline Injection Site Sarcomas

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There is no denying these injection-related tumors are serious. Studies show that this is a rare complication of injection, affecting approximately one to four in every 100,000 cats.

Since vaccines are one of the most frequently administered injections, FISS has become linked to vaccination but can occasionally occur with other injections, such as long acting antibiotics or steroids.

To reduce this risk, vets take care to tailor vaccine protocols to the individual to reduce giving unnecessary vaccinations. They also give vaccines in an extremity, such as a back leg, and each year record where the injection was placed, so any suspicious swelling can be linked back to the injection and monitored.

When alls said and done, its up to each cat parent to make an informed decision about whats best for their pet. But just be sure to base that decision on the facts, rather than fiction, of cat vaccinations.

Does your cat have their core vaccinations? What other myths have you heard about cat vaccines? Let us know in the comments below!

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Does My Kitten Need Injections Immediately After They Are Born

At birth, kittens are protected by the antibodies passed on by the mother through her rst milk . They face a critical period when the concentration from the mother is no longer enough to protect against viruses but is still high enough to prevent effective vaccination. During this time a kitten is most vulnerable to infection.

What Is Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is one of the most common infectious diseases of cats in the world. The disease is caused by the Feline Leukemia Virus .

The virus has a profound effect on the immune system, the bone marrow and blood cells of the cat, and there are up to six stages of infection: infected cats can be asymptomatic carriers for many years, but the clinical signs and the long term prognosis is variable, depending on a number of factors.

Clinical signs may include weight loss, gingivitis , stomatitis , and a range of other possibilities. While some cats can live a healthy life, with a normal lifespan, other cats can have a mortality rate of around 50% in 2 years and 80% in 3 years.

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