Best Age to Give Kittens Vaccines?

Best Age to Give Kittens Vaccines?

Best Age to Give Kittens Vaccines?

Best Age to Give Kittens Vaccines?

The perfect time to begin vaccinating your kittens is actually a widely debated topic in the feline health community and has no straight answer. The ideal age for your kitten to begin their vaccinations entirely depends on your kitten’s circumstances. 


The Reason for the Divide

Many feline health experts have weighed in on this debate. Some will recommend beginning vaccines earlier than others. But what is the reason for such a wide difference?

It turns out that the health and happiness of the mother during pregnancy significantly affect the health of their kittens. No surprise that their nutrition and physical health will affect their unborn babies, but even her stress levels can affect them!

Mother cats pass antibodies to their kittens to protect them from diseases during the first few months of their life. This usually lasts about 14 weeks, but can be greatly reduced if the mother is stressed during pregnancy. 

Consequently, where you obtain your kitten will determine when you should start vaccinating. 

Adopting from Rescues and Shelter

If you plan on getting your kitten from a shelter or rescue, it is recommended to begin vaccines around 7 or 8 weeks old. Kittens from rescues and shelters are perfectly good kittens and deserve a loving home, but they often have mothers that were strays or shelter cats. 

Due to this, the mothers were likely stressed throughout their pregnancy and, at no fault of the kittens, they were born with a less than ideal amount of natural antibodies. Vaccinating at 7 or 8 weeks old ensures that your kitten is protected from dangerous diseases. 

Adopting from a Breeder

If you plan to adopt your cat from a breeder, there are usually vastly different circumstances for the mother cats. Most kittens from good breeders will be better protected because the good care the mom has during the pregnancy means she could pass on as many antibodies as possible to their young. 

For this reason, you can usually allow you kitten to develop their immune system more naturally for a few more weeks, up to about 14. It is recommended by supporters of this practice to wait at least 12 weeks until your kitten’s first vaccines, but there are a few things to consider before making the decision.

Firstly, you want to ensure that your breeder is an ethical and good breeder. You can read our full guide here, but in this case, the most important thing is that you can see the care and environment that the mother cat lives in daily. You want to ensure that they are as stress-free as possible.

Secondly, you want to ensure that you discuss this with your breeder. Depending on their program, some breeders may give vaccines before sending them to homes or may have a clause in the contract that you’ll need to discuss. 


The best age to vaccinate your kitten entirely depends on their circumstances, but it is universally recommended to begin vaccinating for their core vaccines after their natural antibodies from mom wear off around 14 weeks. 

Keep giving your pets the best of natural life!


April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H

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