Pet guardians have a lot to consider when it comes to adopting a new fur-baby. Toys, treats, healthy food, lifestyle, socializing, safety, pet insurance, budgeting - the list goes on. We want our cats to be healthy, but vaccinations are often a point of uncertainty. Luckily, we’ve prepared a guide to help dog and cat guardians find their footing. A Primer on Pet Vaccines, Part One covers the basics of animal vaccines. Pet Vaccine Primer: Concerns and Safety, Part Two shares some of the real risks involved with some vaccines and provides actionable solutions for people who are concerned about their pet and the vaccines schedule. For those with pups, learn more about Dog Diseases and Vaccines. And because we want our fur-babies to be healthy, be sure to integrate supplements into their diet. Vaccines are critical, but nutrition and supplement formulas are also essential for pet health.
Core Cat Vaccines
Core vaccines are standard practice and recommended across the board for all cats, regardless of their region or lifestyle. Some vaccines, such as rabies, may even be required by law because of the danger the disease poses to the entire community.
Core Vaccine Schedule for Cats
Rabies is a highly contagious disease for both humans and animals. It’s 100% deadly, which is why it is required by law in most regions. For cats, this vaccine is typically given at 8-12 weeks with a booster at one year. After that it needs to be administered either every year, or every three years, depending on the recommendation and preference of the guardians.
Feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis are viruses nearly all cats will be exposed to in their lifetime. They cause upper respiratory infections and can be deadly, particularly in young and elderly cats who may have diminished immune systems.
Dogs receive a core vaccine to protect against parvovirus. Feline panleukopenia is the vaccine that protects cats from the fatal parvovirus for cats. It’s also often referred to as feline distemper.
The feline calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and panleukopenia vaccines are given as a combo, all-in-one. It’s administered in 3-4 week intervals until kittens are 16 weeks old. Then it’s administered again at one year old.
Non-Core Vaccines for Cats
Non-core vaccines are recommended for kittens and cat-companions based on their lifestyle and region. For example, an outdoor cat will have many more risks and will likely be exposed to more diseases than an indoor cat. Non-core vaccines are a matter of choice for guardians, and recommendations should be taken seriously as they are recommended on a custom basis for each cat.
Common Non-core Vaccines for Cats
Feline Leukemia is a routine vaccination that is only used for adult cats who are at risk of infection. Once this virus is contracted, it cannot be cured, so vaccines are imperative to avoid this disease. However, some vets do not recommend this vaccine because they believe it can represent a risk for cats. For more on this, read Pet Vaccine Primer: Concerns and Safety, Part Two.
The feline AIDS vaccine, also called feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), may be advisable for some cats. However, some veterinarians say the risks of the vaccine outweigh the risks of the disease. As guardians, we should talk to our vets about the risks and weigh them for ourselves.
Another non-core vaccine that is only recommended for cats with very particular circumstances is feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), also called Coronavirus. There is a higher risk among multi-cat households and is airborne, which makes it highly contagious. It is deadly, hard to diagnose, and difficult to manage and treat, making it a candidate for vaccination.
For cats who will be in an environment where these bacteria are likely present, such as kennels, and other areas that may be crowded with other cats, a vaccination against Chlamydophila felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica may be recommended. They are respiratory infections that can quickly lead to pneumonia, which can quickly become deadly.
We love our cats and want them to be healthy. While core vaccines are recommended for all cats, and for good reason, non-core vaccines are entirely voluntary and should be a conversation between guardians and their vets. We should ask about the risks of the disease and the vaccine. Their well-being is our responsibility, and it’s up to us to look out for them. We can only make the best decision with the information we have.
Remember that Vet Organics carries several supplements that can also help us design a healthy, happy life for our fur-families. They are formulated specifically for cats and their tastes, and they serve their digestive systems, allergies, and immune systems. Choose the best for your cat and give them a long healthy life.