Cat vaccinations are pivotal when it comes to optimal feline health. Even if your cat lives indoors, he or she needs to be vaccinated. Different viruses and other health issues can hurt cats just as easily as they do dogs. Follow this guide to cat vaccinations to avoid preventable health problems in your furry friend.
Mandatory cat vaccinationsSome cat vaccinations are mandatory. Whether you adopt a cat or rescue a kitten, you must invest in the following vaccinations:
- Rabies: In many states, the law requires you to give your cat a rabies vaccination. Rabies is a highly contagious health problem that can spread to humans. Cats can contract rabies through a bite from a fox, raccoon, skunk or bat, which then attacks their central nervous system. While there are vaccinations, there is no cure for rabies, which is why it’s a mandatory vaccination in most of America. Essentially, it keeps the community as well as your cat safe and healthy.
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP): The Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (or FVRCP) vaccine also go by the easier-to-remember name of distemper. Feline distemper is another serious disease, or in this case, a group of diseases. Each of the viruses mentioned in the name can cause serious health problems in cats. Distemper is one of the top causes of cat deaths; a single-strand DNA virus which can spread through contact with an infected cat's saliva, urine, blood, nasal discharge, or feces. While often rapidly fatal, it is entirely preventable with a quick vaccination.
Optional cat vaccinations
Some cat vaccinations are optional and can be provided on a case-by-case basis. Cats who spend unsupervised time outdoors or those that live in multi-cat households should be provided the following vaccinations:
- Feline Leukemia (Felv.): Feline Leukemia (or FELV) is typically recommended for outdoor cats. This viral infection requires close contact between cats to spread, but it only affects cats. This is a serious disease that kills around 85% of cats within three years of their diagnosis.
- Feline Immunodeficiency (FIV): Another serious viral infection that targets outdoor cats and those in multi-cat households is Feline Immunodeficiency (or FIV). FIV’s symptoms are similar to those of Felv.; however, the two are caused by different viruses. FIV severely weakens a cat’s immune system. It is mainly spread by deep bites, which is why this vaccination is essential for cats who spend any time outside.
- Bordetella: If you have dogs you may be familiar with the Bordetella vaccine. Bordetella is a virus that creates upper respiratory symptoms in dogs and cats. This virus is typically spread in boarding and daycare settings and is easily spread through contact (licking, nuzzling) or through the air. If you plan on boarding your cat or taking them to a groomer, you will likely need this vaccination.
The Feline Infectious Peritonitis vaccinationThe Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) vaccination is becoming more popular. FIP is almost always fatal, which is why the development of the vaccine is important.
However, the use of this intranasal vaccine is still somewhat controversial. It has also not shown to be 100% effective in preventing all strains of FIP. Discuss this vaccine with your vet if it has not already been provided. They will be able to provide the most recent research and tell you if it is essential for your cat’s health.
Timing of cat vaccinationsVaccinations of any species are typically started when the animal is a baby. This is true for humans, dogs, and cats. Most vets will begin vaccinating a cat at around 6-8 weeks. The first round of vaccinations will be completed when the kitten is about 16 weeks.
Some vaccinations, like rabies, require regular boosters. Your veterinarian’s office will provide you the proper vaccination schedule for your cat.Cost of cat vaccinationsCat vaccinations are not that expensive. At our veterinary clinic they cost around $15-$30 per shot, and this is typical pricing for vaccinations. If you adopt an adult cat, vaccinations will be very inexpensive. Whether you got your kitty from us at Gulf Coast Humane Society or another rescue shelter, your cat will have been provided the required vaccinations.
Final thoughtsCats need our help to live their best lives. Vaccinations are an important way to keep them happy and healthy. The vaccinations discussed in this article all prevent serious diseases and viral infections. Protecting your cat from these health problems should be your first priority.
If you have any other questions about cat vaccinations or if you’d like to make an appointment, give our friendly team a call today on 239-332-2719! You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in to 2685 Swamp Cabbage Court, Fort Myers, FL 33901.
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