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As your kitty’s annual vet visit and vaccinations come around, you may find yourself wondering if the vaccines your cat is receiving are necessary. While you want to avoid over vaccinating your cat, there are vaccines that are considered essential to your cat’s health plan, called core vaccines.
The safest place for your cat is inside your home, with outdoor time carefully controlled and supervised. However, even these cats will need protection from the common illnesses that can be brought in or encountered. The vaccines that are considered essential are called core vaccines, and they are:
This combination vaccine addresses the most common viral infections that cats are prone to. These are feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), feline calicivirus (C), and feline panleukopenia (P).
All of these are highly contagious and potentially fatal, so it’s important that your cat builds immunity to them young, and keeps that immunity throughout their life. Your cat will likely have several booster shots as a young kitten, followed by a booster every 3 years.
In the US, many states have laws that require dogs and cats to be on a regular schedule for rabies vaccines. Rabies is a deadly disease that can lead to paralysis, seizures, difficulty breathing, abnormal salivating, and strange behavior in your cats.
Once contracted, there is no cure for cats with rabies. Humans can also suffer from rabies and require a quick trip to the hospital for a series of vaccines to prevent the progression of the disease. Rabies vaccines for cats are offered in annual doses or 3-year doses.
Feline Leukemia is a viral infection that attacks your cat’s white blood cells, leaving its immune system unable to fight off everyday germs and diseases. It can be passed from cat to cat through their saliva, so FeLV+ cats often live in solo homes or with other positive cats.
Your vet may suggest a vaccine to help prevent this disease. Since it is spread through contact with a positive ca, some pet parents opt out of this vaccine since their kitty doesn’t go outside or meet other cats.
However, if you use a harness or a catio for your cat, there is always a chance that they can be exposed. People that live in areas with a high population of feral cats should be extra vigilant of the virus, as neighborhood cats may snoop around your cat’s outdoor spaces at night.
In summary, vaccines are important tools that can help keep our cats healthy. However, it is important to be aware of the risks involved with vaccinating. and to make sure that we have all the information we need before making a decision.
Another way we can help keep our cats safe during their regular vaccines is to minimize side effects. You can learn more about how to do that in our blog about the safest vaccines for your cat.
Keep giving your pets the best of natural life!
April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H