Pet owners have the responsibility of ensuring that their cats are properly vaccinated. It protects both the kitty and the people around against potential infections. Deadly diseases like Parvo, rabies, and leukemia can all be prevented only if your pet gets the necessary shots. But my cat has never been vaccinated! Don’t worry because it’s not yet late to protect your kitty from these threats.
Below, I discussed the potential harm of the lack of vaccinations as well as the steps you can take to counter it.
What happens if you don’t vaccinate a cat?
A cat that has never been vaccinated is a sitting duck in the middle of infections. It can be infected by any virus that can result in its death. Worse, it can also bring harm to anyone who will get bitten or scratched by the kitty.
Rabies, for example, is just one of the extremely dangerous infections an unvaccinated cat may transfer to other felines and humans. As you know, once a rabies-infected person or animal shows symptoms, there’s no way to circumvent it. Death is imminent, not to mention that the manifestation of rabies is brutal and heart-breaking.
As a cat owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the cat receives the ample shots it needs. Nevertheless, it’s understandable that surrendered cats from shelters will not have the needed vaccines. Also, if you decided to adopt a stray, it’s a default that the cat is unvaccinated.
The following are the risks unvaccinated cats bring:
- Transmitting deadly diseases. One of the most critical risks an unvaccinated cat brings is the transmission of diseases. It can both be to humans and other animals around.
- Higher risk of death. Unvaccinated cats are susceptible to a slew of health conditions if not vaccinated. Some of these are rabies, feline Parvo, leukemia, hepatitis, leptospirosis, and more.
- Legal problems. Depending on the state you’re in, there would be specific sanctions on the failure to vaccinate a domesticated cat. For example, New York and Pennsylvania require all pets to be vaccinated against rabies. Failure to do so can result in a lawsuit.
If you adopted an unvaccinated cat, you must take it to the vet for proper examination and vaccination. Take note that there are certain factors at play in determining if your cat is fit for vaccination.
Are you wondering if it’s necessary to vaccinate your cat? In this video, Dr. Tony Kremer tells us why vaccines are indispensable for kitties:
Is it too late to vaccinate a cat?
No, it’s never too late to vaccinate a cat. Even if you have an older cat, the vet can come up with a vaccination program to limit the potential side effects.
In fact, older cats are in dire need of vaccination because of their weakening immune system. Take note that various pet facilities will not accept an unvaccinated cat.
While old age will be an important consideration before the vaccination, it should never be an excuse for your cat not to receive the shots it needs.
Vaccines a cat needs
Cats need several vaccinations to protect it from common yet highly dangerous infections. Take note that vaccines are life-savers that should never be put off the moment you adopted or bought a cat. Also, it should be administered by a licensed veterinarian after a thorough examination.
While not all of the mentioned vaccines below are required by law, it still protects your cat from the threat of health problems.
The following are some of the vaccines your cat should receive:
A rabies shot is one of the most important vaccinations a cat or dog needs. In many states, this vaccine is a requirement. Take note that rabies is highly transmissible to both humans and other cats. If a rabid cat bites or scratches you, you’ll need a rabies shot right away to combat the infection. In some cases, a series of shots are given to some people.
Cats are not known to be natural carriers of rabies. However, they can easily contract the virus when they had a fight with infected animals like dogs, infected cats, raccoons, foxes, or skunks.
Rabies has an incubation period of up to two months before it will start showing clinical symptoms. If your cat exhibits aggression, drunken behavior, drooling, and fear of water, it’s too late to fight the virus. Death will progress and occur rapidly.
To prevent this from happening to your cat, you must have it vaccinated with a rabies shot once it reaches 14 weeks old. A booster shot will be given a year after the core shot. Depending on state laws, your cat may need to be vaccinated yearly or every three years.
Cost: $10 to $28 (examination fee not yet included)
💉Feline leukemia (FeLV) virus vaccination
The Feline Leukemia Virus Vaccination protects your cat from the mentioned health condition. This virus is found worldwide and can be transmitted by grooming each other or sharing bowls. The feline leukemia virus is spread through saliva.
While there’s no evidence that FeLV infects humans, getting your cat vaccinated is still a must. FeLV can cause death to a cat, though others can regress and live normal lives. Some of the complications associated with feline leukemia are anemia and lymphoma.
To prevent this, you must have your cat vaccinated against FeLV once it’s 6 to 8 weeks old. Subsequent FeLV shots will be given on your cat’s 10th and 14th week. While this is a necessary vaccine for kittens, adult cats can also receive a FeLV shot annually, depending on the vet’s assessment.
Cost: around $21 per shot (examination fee not yet included)
💉Feline respiratory disease vaccination
Cats are highly susceptible to two types of respiratory viruses: the feline calicivirus (FCV) and the feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV1). Both of these can cause severe symptoms that will compromise your cat’s health.
The feline herpesvirus-1 will start with sneezing and develop into conjunctivitis and pneumonia. Some cats also suffer from corneal ulceration, keratitis, and a slew of complications.
Meanwhile, feline calicivirus is quite a hardy virus because it can survive for weeks on surfaces at room temperature. Worse, it comes in different strains that can infect an unvaccinated cat simultaneously. If not treated right away, FCV can lead to pneumonia.
This is the reason why you should get your cat vaccinated. It will reduce your cat’s risk of contracting these viruses, especially if it’s an outdoor kitty.
However, a proper examination is necessary to ensure that your cat will not suffer from the vaccine’s side effects.
Cost: varies widely
The FVRCP vaccine for cats is a combination of three core vaccines. This includes Feline Panleukopenia (FPV), Feline Herpesvirus (FHV-1), and Feline Calicivirus (FCV). While you can get separate respiratory shots for your cat, vets will usually recommend the FVRCP. It’s widely given to cats as one of the core vaccines.
Instead of injecting the cat three times, vets can administer three vaccines in one go. Still, FVRCP must be given in succeeding shots.
The first FVRCP vaccine will be given once your cat reaches 6 to 8 weeks old. Succeeding shots will be given on the 10th and 14th week. After that, a one-year booster will be given a year after the last shot.
Depending on state regulations in your area, your cat may need a 3-year FVRCP vaccine. You can ask the vet about this if you’re not familiar.
Cost: $40 to $45 on average
Are booster shots necessary?
Booster shots are required, depending on the overall health and susceptibility of your cat to infections. Not all vaccines require yearly booster shots, but it’s important to have your cat check to be sure.
The vet can run blood tests to identify the antibody level of your cat on a specific virus. However, such tests are expensive and stressful to cats. It may be wiser to just avail of a booster shot every year or every three years.
It’s important to consider the vet’s vaccine type to know how often booster shots are needed. Also, you should avoid over-vaccinating your cat since it can lead to serious side effects.
Determining your cat’s vaccination schedule
Each cat is different, and so is its vaccination schedule. The vet will have to check the kitty’s medical history, age, overall health condition, and susceptibility to infections.
Also, the vet will determine whether the cat will have a negative reaction to the vaccine. The benefit must be more prominent than the bad reaction to prevent compromising your cat’s life.
This is the same reason why you should never self-vaccinate your cat. You can never tell the risk unless you let a licensed veterinarian perform the necessary examination.
Potential side effects of vaccination
Just like any treatment, vaccinations can bring some side effects to your cat. Most of them are normal and should subside in a matter of days. However, if any of these side effects don’t abate and is beyond mild, you must bring your cat to the vet immediately:
- Mild fever
- Swelling or redness on the injection area
- Poor appetite
- Fainting during vaccination
Usually, these side effects are non-lethal and a small sacrifice for the protection your cat will get. It should be short-lived and minor. If the side effects are adverse, your cat may require immediate medical attention.
For the most part, anaphylaxis due to vaccination is rare among cats. Experts say that it only occurs in 1 in every 10,000 vaccines. The key here is being vigilant and proactive once you see the symptoms.
In this video, Dr. Clayton Greenway of HealthCareForPets.com discusses the side effects of vaccines and what to do about it:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is it necessary to vaccinate cats every year?
A: One-time vaccination for some diseases are sometimes enough to protect a cat for life. However, the vet may determine if your cat needs a booster shot on some occasions. This is a case-to-case basis depending on the overall health of your kitty. It’s important to consult the vet and perform proper examinations to identify whether booster shots will be beneficial for cats.
Q: Do I need to get my indoor cat vaccinated?
A: Yes, even indoor cats must be vaccinated accordingly. Even if your cat isn’t roaming outdoors, it will still mingle with other cats on some occasions. Vaccinations are the protection that your cat should best have and not need instead of needing it and not having it. It will also give you peace of mind that your cat has a shield against some deadly diseases in the feline kingdom.
Q: What is a booster shot for cats?
A: Booster shots are given after the first core vaccination. Usually, booster shots are given every year, but it may not be necessary for some kitties. Booster shots are given to cats to build up immunity in case the vet determines that the feline didn’t respond to the first core vaccination.
Q: Can a vet tell if a cat has been vaccinated already?
A: It can be difficult for the vet to determine whether a cat has been previously vaccinated if it doesn’t have any documentary proof. Still, the vet can run blood tests to determine potential antibodies that may indicate the possibility of previous vaccination. Nevertheless, cats can be given booster shots if it’s a stray or has been adopted from a shelter.
Q: Can I vaccinate my cat myself?
A: You should never vaccinate your cat on your own unless the veterinarian has advised and supervised you properly. In most occasions, the vet is the one to administer the vaccinations. Never trust those that sell DIY vaccinations for cats. These are potentially dangerous and can compromise your pet’s health. While it might be cheaper, the repercussions might have a higher cost – both financially and physically.
“My cat has never been vaccinated!” If you’re dealing with the same problem, the good news is it’s never too late to give your cat the necessary shots. Just make sure that you bring the kitty to a licensed vet for proper examination. The vet will also determine the schedule of the vaccination to limit potential side effects.
Is your cat fully vaccinated? Let us know below!