Should I get my cat vaccinated? Why and when to get your cat's vaccines.

Whether your cat is an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, vaccinations play a critical role protecting the health of your feline friend. Here's more from our Memphis vet on why and when you should get your cat or kitten vaccinated.


Why should I get my cat vaccinated?

It is essential to have your kitten vaccinated in order to protect your cat from contracting a number of serious feline specific diseases. Following up with booster shots, after your kitten's initial vaccinations, is equally important to in order to protect your cat's longterm health.

When should my kitten get their first shots?

Your kitten should have their first round of shots at approximately six to eight weeks of age. After that, your kitten should be scheduled to receive a series of vaccinations at three or four week intervals until they are about 16 weeks old.

When does my cat need booster shots?

As the effectiveness of the initial vaccines wear off, booster shots help to 'boost' your cat's protection against disease. Booster shots are given either yearly or every three years depending on the vaccine. Contact your vet to find out when to bring your cat back their booster shots.

Do I need to get my indoor cat vaccinated?

When it comes to your cat's health it's always better to err on the side of caution. At Stage Road Animal Hospital we recommend that indoor cats receive all of the core-vaccinations to protect against diseases they may be exposed to if they manage to escape the safety of home.

It's also important to note that many states, including Tennessee, require that all cats be vaccinated against rabies. Once your cat has received their rabies shot, your vet will provide you with a certificate of vaccination.

Which vaccines does my outdoor cat need?

Compared to indoor cats, outdoor cats are exposed to more diseases and parasites, and so it is even more important to keep you outdoor cat well protected. Your vet may recommend that as well as the core vaccinations listed below, your cat should receive one or a number of the non-core vaccines.

Core Vaccinations for All Cats

Core vaccinations are recommended for all cats. These vaccines are considered vital for protecting cats and kittens from the following serious conditions: 

  • Panleukopenia (feline distemper)
  • Feline calicivirus (FCV)
  • Feline herpesvirus type I (FHV, FHV-1)
  • Rabies

Non-Core Vaccinations for Cats

Non-core vaccinations are suitable for some cats, based on their age, overall health and lifestyle. Your vet will advise you as to which non-core vaccines are recommended for your cat. Non-core vaccines include protection against:

  • Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
  • Bordetella
  • Chlamydophila felis
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

Possible Side Effects

Most cats will not experience any side effects from their vaccinations, or only experience a minor, brief reaction. However, on rare occasions more serious side effects may occur. If you notice any of the following, contact your vet immediately to determine whether other treatment is required.

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Swelling near the area of injection
  • Loss of appetite
  • Immobility or limping
  • Lethargy

Will my kitten be protected after the first round of shots?

Your kitten is not fully vaccinated until they have received all of their injections, at about 12-16 weeks of age. Once they have received all of their first year shots your kitten will be protected against the diseases covered by those vaccines. 

If you want to allow your kitten outdoors before they have received all of their vaccines, it is a good idea to keep them confined to low risk areas such as your own backyard.

Is your cat or kitten due for their vaccinations? Contact Stage Road Animal Hospital in Memphis to book an appointment for your feline friend.

Vaccines. Getting your cat or kitten their shots, Memphis

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