Cat Vaccines

My kitten was vaccinated at 6 weeks. I was told I didn’t have to have them vaccinated again. Is this so?

Any vaccines that are given to a kitten before 7 weeks are considered a temporary vaccine, as the kitten may still be nursing and the antibodies in the mother’s milk may not make the vaccine as effective.  It is for this reason that your kitten still needs vaccinations.  

What am I vaccinating my kitten for?

Feline panleukopenia- This feline parvo virus is very dangerous for unvaccinated cats.  They can be infected by coming in contact with urine, feces or nasal secretions from an infected cat.  Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness and fever. It can be fatal.

Rhinotracheitis-This is a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted from infected cats through nasal, mouth and eye secretions.  It can even be transmitted through dishes, cages and toys used by infected felines.  Symptoms include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, ulcers in the mouth and pneumonia. 

Calicivirus- This highly contagious virus can be transmitted through the air, contaminated surfaces and coming into contact with infected animals.  Symptoms include lethargy, fever, ulcers, nasal discharge and difficulty breathing.  

Rabies– This fatal virus can be transmitted to your cat through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. This includes infected saliva/blood that comes in contact with your pets own wounds.  It can even be transmitted to humans.  The rabies vaccine is required by law. Some of the symptoms include foaming at the mouth, incoordination, loss of appetite, weakness, seizures and sudden death. 

What other vaccines should I consider for my kitten?

If there is even a small possibility of your kitten getting outside and coming in contact with other cats, you should consider vaccinating against feline leukemia.  This disease can be transmitted from fighting with other cats, grooming, and using dishes from infected animals.  

Symptoms include, abscesses, weight loss, persistent diarrhea and anemia. Infected cats often have unexplained fevers and can develop cancer. Feline leukemia virus is ultimately fatal.

My kitten seems quiet, not wanting to eat after getting their vaccines.  Should I be concerned?

It is common for your kitten to feel sleepy and not very interested in eating for 12-24 hours after getting their vaccine.  This is because they may be running a slight fever after their shots (just like human kids), meaning that they feel tired as a result. 

If your kitten is having a hard time breathing, has swelling at the injection site or is experiencing vomiting and diarrhea, this should be reported to the clinic right away. 

When do I vaccinate my kitten?

 8 weeks – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia (FVRCP)

12 weeks – 2nd FVRCP, (+/- Feline Leukemia Virus -FELV)

16 weeks- 3rd FVRCP, (+/- FELV), Rabies (1 year – Purevax®)

As adults:

Year one – FVRCP (1 year) / (+/- FELV) / Rabies (1 year – Purevax®)

Year two – FVRCP (3 year) / (+/- FELV) / Rabies (1 year – Purevax®)

Year three – Rabies (1 year – Purevax®) / (+/- FELV)

Please Note:

Feline Leukemia Virus is considered an optional vaccine in cats, as the disease is spread by a bite from another infected cat and tends to be given to cats that go outside or run the risk of being exposed to an outdoor cat.


***Cats still need to be seen yearly for booster vaccines regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor cats.***