Are Cat Vaccines Necessary?

Cat vaccines are administered from an early age and aim at making the cat immune to frequent feline diseases that can be a risk to the pet’s health. Some cat vaccines are necessary, while others may only be administered to cats that have certain genetic background or are exposed to different diseases, specific to the area they live in. In addition to the initial necessary vaccines, a cat also needs booster shots, which can be administered once per year or every 3 years, depending on the vaccine and on the territorial regulations regarding the vaccinations.

The Series of Essential Vaccines for Felines

The FVRCP vaccines are a series of vaccines that are necessary for each feline. The vaccines may be administered at the same time, when the cat is 6 to 8 weeks old, but may also be given at a later time, if the cat has missed out on these vaccines.

The FVRCP vaccines include:

  • The viral rhinotracheitis injection, which is meant to prevent the occurrence of a common respiratory infection that is highly contagious and can be fatal in kittens
  • The calicivirus vaccine is also administered to prevent a different type of respiratory infection
  • The distemper vaccine will prevent a disease known as distemper or panleukopenia, which will cause gastrointestinal symptoms, heart problems and may also cause death

In addition to the FVRCP, the cat needs the rabies shot, which will prevent the cat from getting rabies, a fatal neurological disease.

These vaccines prevent diseases that are potentially fatal, especially in kittens that are more sensitive and don’t have a fully developed immune system. If these vaccines are not administered, the cat can contract these diseases and develop complications or die.

Additional Shots

The vet may also recommend a few vaccines, depending on what the cat may be exposed to and his genetic background. These vaccines may include:

  • The FeLV shot, preventing against leukemia
  • Infectious peritonitis, which can be fatal
  • FIV, the feline AIDS
  • Feline Chlamydia
  • Giardiasis shot, which can prevent giardia

These vaccines are not necessary, but if your pet is exposed to these diseases, it is best that the vaccines are administered.

Are Boosters Necessary?

Vaccine boosters are necessary, as the effect of a vaccine may not protect the cat for more than a few years. The frequency of booster shots is not clearly determined. Some vets will recommend yearly boosters, while others will administer a booster only after 3 years from the first vaccination.

Some vets recommend less frequent vaccination due to the negative effects the vaccines are associated with. Studies are still needed to confirm that vaccines cause carcinomas at the injection site and may have other side effects such as allergic reactions, vomiting or false positives in tests.

Vaccines shouldn’t be administered to pregnant cats or cats that are already infected with a disease.