Mandatory Vaccines for Cats

Cat vaccines are helpful to prevent a few common or fatal feline diseases. There are mandatory vaccines, and vaccines that may only be administered if the vet recommends them. You should know what the mandatory vaccines are and the best age these should be administered at. The cat should receive all the mandatory vaccines during his first year of life and a booster each year after that.

6 to 8 Weeks

At the age of 6 to 8 weeks, the cat should receive the first series of vaccines. Until this age, the cat normally has immunity from the mother's milk. However, after the cat no longer receives milk from his mother, he will need protection from various viruses and infections. The vaccines administered at this age are:

  • The distemper shot, effective against the panleukopenia virus
  • The feline rhinotracheitis shot, protecting against respiratory infections caused by the herpes virus
  • The FCV shot against the calicivirus, which can cause a respiratory infection
  • The first rabies shot, which protects against rabies

At 12 Weeks

When the cat is 12 weeks old, other mandatory shots should be administered. These shots are:

These will strengthen the cat's immune system and will protect him against common infections that often occur in felines.

16 Weeks

At 16 weeks, the cat should get another series of shots:

  • The second rabies shot
  • The last series of herpes virus, calicivirus and distemper vaccines

It is important that the cat receives all the needed vaccines. If the cat doesn't receive all the shots and misses out on the third series of herpes, calicivirus and distemper shots, he won't have immunity against these viruses. The rabies booster is also essential.

1 Year

Approximately 12 months after the first series of vaccines, the cat will have to get a veterinary examination and receive a series of mandatory booster shots. These shots are mandatory, as the first vaccines will not be effective for more than 12 months. At 12 months, the cat will receive the following booster shots:

  • Distemper shot
  • Calicivirus shot
  • Rabies shot, which can be administered only 36 months after the first shots, according to some specialists.

Other Vaccines

In addition to the mandatory vaccines, the cat may also get other shots. These may be recommended by the vet, due to:

  • A possible inherited propensity for certain diseases
  • The geographical area in which the cat lives, if the cat is exposed to particular infections specific to an area
  • If the cat is exposed to other felines with certain contagious diseases

Some other feline vaccines may include:

  • Leukemia vaccine
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
  • The FIV vaccine (against feline AIDS), which is controversial and may show a false positive in FIV testing