Cat Vaccinations: What You Need to Know
While it may often seem like our feline friends are forever-protected by their mythical nine lives, the truth is; that’s simply not the case. Cats are susceptible to disease, just like any other living creature, and need the protections provided by cat vaccinations throughout their life if they are to remain happy and purring members of our families.
Thankfully, your veterinary team at Rutland Veterinary Clinic have the prowess your pussycat needs to live a long and full life. As a certified cat-friendly practice and working towards our Fear Free Certification, we pride ourselves on providing excellent veterinary cat care – both in our office and through home visits – and know that the cornerstone of your cat’s wellness care is keeping your cat’s vaccinations (and boosters) current throughout their life.
Every cat we treat is unique. He or she may strictly be an indoor-only cat, live a life of comfortable adventure as an indoor/outdoor cat, or even be the neighborhood Tom. Whatever the case may be, we apply an individualized approach to each of our patient’s health needs, including their vaccination schedule.
When planning your cat’s vaccination routine, we look, not only at their lifestyle, but at their age, overall health and general wellness, and their individual risk factors for certain illnesses before recommending specific cat vaccinations.
Disease prevention is an important piece of your cat’s health care, in part because certain diseases can be zoonotic – meaning they can be passed between animals and humans. Because of the threat to humans rabies presents, Vermont law requires certain animals, including cats, to be vaccinated against rabies.
Other cat vaccinations are not mandated by the state, but they’re equally important.
Core Vs. Non-Core
Not all cat vaccinations are needed by all cats, however a select few are a must for our feline friends; these are known as ‘core vaccinations’. In addition to the rabies vaccination, Feline distemper vaccine (also known as FVRCP) is considered a core cat vaccine, because protects against rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.
As discussed above, your cat’s health and lifestyle will dictate what ‘non-core vaccines’ your kitty needs. Depending on your cat’s risk factors, he or she may need to be inoculated against feline leukemia virus. As a kitten this is a core vaccine but becomes non core once they are an adult and the decision has been made to keep them 100% indoors.
Boosters Can Bolster Wellness
After an initial vaccination, boosters may or may not be necessary, depending on the specific vaccine and the individual cat’s potential exposure. Even indoor-only cats should receive scheduled rabies vaccines as a result of the possibility of infected animals (like bats) entering the home. Typically, at a young cat’s 1-year wellness exam, we will discuss booster immunizations.
To maintain the efficacy of cat vaccinations, it’s important to follow a precise schedule with little or no gaps or inconsistency. If there is ever a lapse in protection, your cat could develop health issues stemming from infectious disease.
After Cat Vaccinations
Cat vaccinations stimulate the body’s immune system. Mild symptoms, which are uncommon, can range from soreness at the site of injection to various allergic reactions or fever. Any possible side effects of cat vaccinations are certainly outweighed by the benefits of protection from damaging – or deadly – illness.
Their long life depends on proper care, and cat vaccinations tops the priority list. Our veterinarians and staff are always happy to discuss your cat’s health and wellness with you. Please call us with any questions or concerns.