Are Vaccinations Necessary for Cats?

cat vaccinated in a clinic

If you are relatively new to caring for a cat, you may have a number of questions about their health and medical needs. One of the most common questions veterinarians are asked is whether or not it is necessary to vaccinate their cat, and if so, what vaccinations are required.

One of our most important responsibilities as the owner of a pet is to do everything possible to keep them safe from harm. One of the best ways in which to do this is to protect them from the many contagious, serious and sometimes deadly diseases that can affect them. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that there are now more preventive medications for our pets than ever before.

The importance of a vaccination schedule

When you visit a vet for the first time, they will almost certainly speak to you about the importance of implementing a vaccination schedule for your feline friend.

While vaccinations have been proven to be very effective, some take a few days or even several weeks to reach their full effectiveness. Immunity is not permanent, and so regular ‘boosters’ will be required if your cat is to be fully protected at all times. As such, our vet will recommend a specific vaccination schedule based on the immunizations that your pet is having, and this should be strictly adhered to so that there are no periods of time that your cat is left vulnerable.

Many boarding kennels, grooming salons and other similar environments have a strict policy of only allowing animals whose owners can prove that their pet is up to date with their vaccinations.

My cat is an indoor pet, so surely she doesn’t need vaccinating?

This is a very common misconception. After all, if your cat only ever stays inside she won’t be exposed to any viruses… will she? It may surprise you to learn that many contagious diseases are airborne and even an open window could allow them access to your pet. The only way of ensuring that your cat is fully protected is to get her vaccinated on time, every time.

Essential vaccinations for cats

There are two vaccines that are essential for your cat. These are:

- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia. This 3-in1 injection is also known as the ‘distemper shot’ and protects your feline from all three of these contagious diseases.

- Rabies. The rabies virus is fatal and all mammals, including humans, are vulnerable to infection. Nearly all states require animals to be vaccinated against rabies.

Other recommended vaccines for cats

Our vet may also recommend that you consider a number of other vaccines, depending on the age and health of your cat, and her lifestyle. These include:

- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Commonly recommended for outdoor cats as requires close contact to be spread.

- Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). Although most house cats are at low risk of contracting FIP, the virus is almost always fatal.

- Bordetella. Often recommended if your cat goes into boarding or grooming facilities.

- Feline Leukemia (Felv). Again, only spread through close contact with an infected cat so more likely to be given to felines who roam outdoors.

- Chlamydia. The vaccine for this is often included in the distemper shot.

If you would like further advice on the importance of feline vaccinations, our veterinarian would be only too happy to help. Contact us today for further information.