Shots Your Kitten Doesn't Need

It's important to get your kitten vaccinated, but there are many kitten shots that your kitten doesn't need.

What Vaccines Do

A vaccination is a small virus which is injected into a kitten to help build a response that builds the kitten's immunity against a particular disease. The virus injected has been modified so the kitten will not get sick from the introduced virus, but is effective in building a resistance.

A vaccination should help create antibodies that help a kitten fight diseases and protect him as long as the antibodies are in the cat's system.

Vaccines Kittens Need

The first series of shots a kitten will usually get is a DRCC/FVRCP vaccination against feline distemper (Panleukopenia), rhinotracheitis, and calici virus. These vaccines help protect against upper respiratory diseases, herpes and fatal viruses.

When a kitten is at least 3-months old, he will need to get a rabies shot. Most states require cats to have this vaccine by law.

Vaccines Kittens Do Not Need

If a kitten will be an indoor-only pet, a FEL/FIV (feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus) vaccine is usually not necessary. However, it is recommended that your kitten get tested for FEL/FIV if not much information is know about the kitten and his parents. The FEL vaccine can cause vaccine-related sarcomas from the killed viruses in the vaccine. The FIV's efficacy is questionable and can cause tests to show a false positive.

The Chlamydia vaccine is not recommended for cats at little to no risk of contracting the disease. This vaccine has a high rate of cat illness symptoms and should only be used based upon the prevalence of the condition and the breeding conditions.

FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) is a viral disease that is almost always fatal. The intranasal vaccine that has been created has not proven effective in preventing feline FIP. Vaccines are only recommended for high-risk cats.

Other immunizations kittens don't need include the dermatophytosis (ringworm) vaccine, yellow fever immunization, the bordetella vaccine, and the giardia vaccine; they are not recommended by most veterinarians. Many of the vaccines that are unnecessary have serious side effects or are ineffective and cannot be treated with cat meds.

The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners advise that kittens with lower risks of disease exposure may not need booster shots on an annual basis for most illnesses. However, recommendations vary by breed, potential of exposure, the health of a cat, and the geographic location in which the kitten lives. Talk with your veterinarian to determine which vaccinations are most appropriate for your kitten.