Rabies Vaccines for Cats

The rabies vaccines are obligatory for all domesticated and feral cats. Rabies is a disease that may occur in canines, felines and other wild animals. The disease is always fatal and may be transmitted through saliva or bites. The vaccines against rabies will be administered starting with the age of 16 weeks. The vaccines will protect the cats, but there may be a few side effects also.

Rabies Vaccines

The rabies vaccines are compulsory vaccines and are required by law in a lot of countries, including the US. The rabies disease may not only be spread among animals, but humans may also catch the disease, should they come in contact with an infected animal.

The series of rabies vaccines start at the age of 16 weeks. Until this age, the cat should be kept mostly indoors, so that he won’t get infected with rabies.

If suspected for rabies, the cat will be tested prior to vaccination, as the administration of a vaccine to a cat with rabies may have complications.

A booster shot for the rabies vaccine will be given when the cat is 1 year old. After this, the cat may get a rabies shot every year or every 3 years, depending on the local regulations in this respect.

Some vets claim a rabies shot should be effective for up to 7 years.

If you get a cat, you should always ask for the vaccination records and get the rabies shots if these haven’t been administered yet. The rabies shot may be given at any age, if the vaccination hasn’t been performed at 16 weeks.

Vaccine Contraindications

The rabies vaccines shouldn’t be administered to cats:

  • Already infected with rabies
  • Under chemotherapy
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Immediately after other immunization shots or combined with other shots

If the cat is allergic to vaccines, the vet must be informed and he will administer a shot to prevent allergic reactions prior to administering the rabies shot.

Allergies to Rabies Vaccines

Cats may develop allergies to the rabies vaccine and the allergic reactions may be minor or serious. Watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Panting and breathing difficulties
  • Swelling of face
  • Throwing up
  • Skin reactions

These typically appear within a few minutes after the vaccine is administered. Should the allergic reaction cause the constriction of air ways, the cat will need an epinephrine shot.

Rabies Vaccine Side Effects

Some cats can experience a few side effects after the administration of the rabies vaccine. These side effects may be:

  • Skin itchiness
  • Swelling and redness at the injection site
  • Carcinomas at the injection site
  • Confusion
  • Hostile behavior
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Muscle weakness (only temporary)
  • Sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Autoimmune conditions

Any alarming side effects manifested within a few days after the rabies shot should be reported to the vet.