You may be on top of your kids’ vaccinations at the doctors, ensuring they’re up to date with each one. However, you may not realize that your pet cat needs vaccinations, too. Keeping your cuddly cat safe and healthy can be achieved through scheduled cat vaccinations, each designed to address different diseases. These vaccines can prolong the life of your cat and protect her from life-threatening illness, but they don’t come without their risks. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to learn all the facts beforehand.
What are Cat Vaccinations?
Cat vaccinations are just like those for humans. They’re given out on a scheduled basis for protection against a variety of diseases. These cat vaccinations help your cat’s immune system fight organisms that cause diseases, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The vaccines contain antigens which mimic the disease but do not cause it, so that when the cat receives the vaccine, its immune system is stimulated slightly. If exposed to the actual disease, the cat’s immune system is properly equipped to fight it off.
Cat Vaccinations Timing
Your pet’s veterinarian will be able to advise on a schedule of necessary vaccines to take the guesswork out of it for you. While vaccines are important to the health of your feline friend, not all cats need all vaccines. That’s why it’s important to talk to the vet about cat vaccinations she needs most, along with the risks that come with each one. Chances are, your vet will recommend a core set of vaccines if your pet is otherwise healthy.
Factors that play into the decision as to which vaccines to administer include lifestyle, environment, medical history and age. According to the ASPCA, your adult cat should be revaccinated once a year or once every three years, depending on her specific situation. Kittens receive the nutrients they need from their mother’s milk, which contains antibodies to ward off infectious disease. After they wean, usually around six to eight weeks old, your kitten will require a series of vaccines every month until she is about 16 weeks old.
Available Cat Vaccinations
Some of the available vaccines include feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus /herpes virus, rabies and feline leukemia, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Feline panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, is a deadly viral disease that can easily survive extreme temperature and humidity ranges and can resist most disinfectants. Thanks to the vaccine, this is no longer the most serious infectious disease for cats.
Feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus comprise up to 90 percent of upper respiratory tract diseases in cats, says the AVMA. The rabies vaccine is important because this increasing threat can lead to human exposure if not controlled. Cats are the biggest carriers of rabies in this country, even more than dogs. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is the top viral cause of death in cats, spread through bites and from mother to kitten. Your vet may recommend vaccines for chlamydia, feline infectious peritonitis or ringworm but they are not always necessary.
Your first course of action regarding cat vaccinations should be to consult with your vet, who can better advise you on a specific dosing schedule. In conjunction, consider pet health insurance through PetPremium to ensure the best possible and most affordable health care for your cat. Find out here what you need to know about pet vaccinations.