You should check that your cat’s vaccinations are up to date and accurate if you have recently adopted a cute kitten or a devoted adult cat. This is especially important if you adopted the cat recently.
However, you might wonder whether or not it is necessary to give vaccines to cats that live indoors.
Even though indoor cats are much less likely to contract diseases than outdoor cats or dogs, your indoor cat still needs to get the vaccinations that your veterinarian recommends for a long and healthy life. It is imperative to get your cat vaccinated, especially if you have other animals in the house.
Ensuring your cat’s vaccinations are up to date should not be lost on anyone who owns a cat. Between 6 and 8 weeks, kittens should begin receiving their primary vaccinations.
Vaccinations for cats are administered in a series, meaning that the animal will receive multiple shots over a few months. After this, they will receive booster shots to ensure they remain protected for the rest of their lives.
Two primary core vaccinations are recommended for cats. Core vaccines are recommended for all cats, regardless of where they live or their conditions. These vaccines are known to protect against a wide array of diseases. Vaccines known as lifestyle or non-core vaccines are recommended for certain cats in particular circumstances.
Here are the vaccines you should look out for if you intend to adopt or buy a cat in 2023:
Rabies – (CORE)
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that rabies in humans is extremely rare in the United States. On the other hand, there are reports of between 60 and 70 rabid dogs and more than 250 rabid cats each year. Most of these cases involved animals that had not been vaccinated, and the infected cats were almost exclusively outdoor cats. Nonetheless, because rabies almost always results in death, it is prudent to take precautions. Vaccination is required for all cats since there is always the risk that your curious indoor cat will venture outside.
FVRCP – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (CORE)
If your indoor cat gets feline herpesvirus (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis) or calicivirus, it will typically have upper respiratory symptoms. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, mouth sores, and joint pain. Infected cats suffer from panleukopenia (feline distemper) virus infection, which causes frequent, severe diarrhea and vomiting and is often fatal. To prevent overvaccination, you should begin the FVRCP vaccination series when your kitten is eight weeks old. This will be followed by shots at 12 weeks and 16 weeks. If your kitten has a very low-risk index, they may only need two FVRCP doses instead of three. Kittens require vaccinations every three to four weeks until they reach the age of 16 weeks. At this point, its maternal antibody level has dropped to a level low enough to respond to the vaccine. Adult cats require booster shots every one to three years, depending on how well they respond to the FVRCP vaccination series.
FPV – Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Parvovirus)
Feline panleukopenia, known popularly as feline parvovirus, is an exceptionally infectious disease that significantly kills kittens. In most cases, the condition starts off with fatigue and a loss of appetite, but it quickly moves on to being accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, the virus eliminates white blood cells, which renders young cats more susceptible to secondary infections.
FVR/FHV-1 (Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus/Herpesvirus 1)
Feline rhinotracheitis virus, also known as feline herpesvirus, causes severe upper respiratory infection. Sneezing, nasal congestion and discharge, and conjunctivitis are all possible symptoms. It can also cause oral ulcers and pneumonia in some cases. The virus enters a dormant state in the nerves after the cat recovers from the initial infection. The virus can reactivate during times of stress, and the cat can begin to show signs of infection again—even if they have not been re-exposed to the disease.
FCV – Feline Calicivirus
Sneezing, nasal discharge, and oral ulcerations are just some of the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection that can be brought on by feline calicivirus, a group of viral strains. It is believed that FCV is connected to persistent gingivitis and stomatitis. These are painful gum and tooth inflammation. Some of the more dangerous virus strains can even lead to other symptoms such as hair loss, crusting on different parts of the body, hepatitis, and in worst cases, death.
This bacteria has a high risk of spreading to others and is the root cause of upper respiratory infections. Your veterinarian may recommend this vaccine if you regularly take your cat to a boarding kennel or groomer.
This vaccination is typically administered as part of a combination vaccine against distemper. Your cat is protected from chlamydia, a bacterial infection that can lead to severe conjunctivitis if left untreated.
You might believe your cat is immune to these diseases if it lives inside your home and never goes outside. However, they risk contracting airborne germs that enter the room through a door or window. Even the most obedient cats occasionally try to get away from their owners.
If you let your cat explore the great outdoors, you are responsible for ensuring its well-being. Even when kept indoors, cats are susceptible to contracting bacteria and viruses from other cats and kennels.
Keep in mind that even though vaccines are entirely adequate and considered standard practice in this modern era, they do not provide total immunity to the diseases they target. For certain vaccines to maintain efficacy, your cat must receive booster shots regularly. Reduce the time your pet spends around infected animals and keep it away from places where the disease is more likely to be found.
As a cat owner, you are responsible for the quality and standard of life you are giving to your cat. Vaccines will prevent diseases and protect your cat and other pets within the vicinity. It’s best to invest in good vaccines that will save you many dollars and headaches.