Why Are Vaccines for Cats Important?
Every year, vast numbers of cats are afflicted by serious, diseases specific to felines. In order to protect your cat from contracting a serious but preventable condition, it's critical to start having your four-legged friend vaccinated right from the time they are a kitten and continue with 'booster shots' on a regular basis during their life.
Just as the name indicates, booster shots' boost' your cat's protection against numerous feline diseases after the effects of the initial vaccine wear off. Booster shots for cats are administered on specific schedules. Your vet will advise you when to bring your cat in for their booster shots.
Why Should I Vaccinate My Cat?
Perhaps your cat spends most of their time indoors and you wonder if they need pet vaccinations. By many states' laws, all cats must have certain vaccinations. For example, many states legislate rabies vaccinations for all cats older than 6 months. Once your cat has had their shots, you'll receive a certificate from your veterinarian stating that your cat has been vaccinated as required.
One other important reason to have your cat vaccinated is that indoor cats often manage to sneak away when their owner isn't looking. Your feline friend may only need to take a quick sniff around your backyard to contract any of the very contagious viruses that cats are susceptible to.
Just like dog vaccinations, these vaccines are critical to your cat's health. Bring your kitty in to our clinic in McAllen if they see a groomer or spend time in a boarding facility while you are away from home. Wherever other cats have been, there is a chance that viruses will spread, so double-check that your cat is protected.
There are two types of vaccines available for pets - 'core vaccines' and 'lifestyle vaccines'. Core vaccines are the most essential vaccines. Our vets strongly recommend that all cats - both indoor and outdoor pets - receive core vaccinations to protect them against highly contagious diseases they may be exposed to.
What are Essential (Core) Vaccines for Cats?
- Rabies - rabies kills many mammals (including humans) every year. There is no cure for this very serious disease. These vaccinations are required by law for cats in most states.
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP) - Typically known as the “distemper” shot, this combination vaccine protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.
- Feline herpesvirus type I (FHV, FHV-1) - This highly contagious, ubiquitous virus is one major cause of upper respiratory infections. Spread through sharing of litter trays or food bowls, inhalation of sneeze droplets or direct contact, the virus can infect cats for life. Some will continue to shed the virus, and persistent FHV infection can lead to eye problems.
What are Lifestyle (Non-Core) Cat Vaccines?
Depending on their lifestyle, these pet vaccinations may be appropriate for your cat. Your McAllen vet can recommend which non-core vaccines your cat should have. Lifestyle vaccines protect against:
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FeLV) - Viral infections can be transmitted via close contact. These vaccines protect against them and are only typically recommended for cats that spend time outside.
- Bordetella - Highly contagious upper respiratory infections are caused by bordetella. Your vet may recommend this vaccine if you are taking your cat to a boarding kennel or groomer.
- Chlamydophila felis - The bacterial infection chlamydia causes severe conjunctivitis. The vaccination for the infection is often included in the distemper combination vaccine.
When should my kitten get their shots?
Shots for kittens should begin when they reach about six to eight weeks old. Following this, your kitty should get a series of shots at three-to-four-week intervals until they reach approximately 16 weeks old.
First visit (6 to 8 weeks)
- Review nutrition and grooming
- Blood test for feline leukemia
- Fecal exam for parasites
- Vaccinations for chlamydia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis and panleukopenia
Second visit (12 weeks)
- Examination and external check for parasites
- First feline leukemia vaccine
- Second vaccinations for calicivirus rhinotracheitis, and panleukopenia
- First feline leukemia vaccine
Third visit (follow veterinarian’s advice)
- Rabies vaccine
- Second feline leukemia vaccine
When should my cat get 'booster' shots?
Depending on the vaccine, adult cats should get booster shots either annually or every three years. Your vet will tell you when to bring your adult cat back for booster shots.
Is my cat protected as soon as they get their shots?
Until they have received all rounds of their vaccinations (when they are about 12 to 16 weeks old), your kitty will not be fully vaccinated. After all of their initial vaccinations have been completed, your kitten will be protected against the diseases or conditions covered by the vaccines.
If you plan to let your kitten outdoors before they have been fully vaccinated against all the diseases listed above, we recommend keeping them restricted to low-risk areas such as your own backyard.
Pet Vaccinations in McAllen
At Nolana Animal Hospital, preventive care is a. high priority and helps to prevent common diseases and disorders from emerging in the first place. When you schedule your pet's vaccinations at our clinic in McAllen, we can also book your wellness checkup and provide advice on parasite prevention to fulfill your cat or dog's routine healthcare needs.
Vaccinations, boosters and preventive care offer your pet the best chance at a long, healthy life. Our veterinary team can work with you to develop a customized preventive care plan and vaccination schedule tailored to your cat or dog's unique needs.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.