Understanding Feline Vaccination

Feline vaccination is essential for your cat's health and in preventing frequent feline diseases. There are a number of vaccinations that are recommended for kittens and elderly cats. Kittens need a series of vaccinations starting from 6 weeks until the age of 16 weeks. Immunizations are recommended on an annual basis.

Senior cats may also be more exposed to distemper and other viruses, so vaccinations are recommended.

FVRCP Vaccination

The FVRCP vaccination combines a few vaccines that are administered at the same time. These initials stand for the following vaccinations:

  • FVR is the feline viral rhinotracheitis vaccine, which prevents upper respiratory infections. The infection is very contagious and kittens are exposed to it, due to a lower level of immunity.
  • C is the calcivirus shot, which will also prevent a frequent respiratory infection.
  • P is the panleukopenia vaccine; panleukopenia or feline distemper is a highly contagious condition and may be fatal. Cat distemper causes vomiting, diarrhea, heart murmur, weakness and lack of balance. A cat with distemper needs to be hospitalized and may die.


The rabies vaccine is necessary to prevent a fatal virus that affects the nervous system.

Rabies may be transmitted through saliva from cats and other animals such as raccoons, bats and skunks. If your cat is vaccinated and gets bitten by an infected animal, the rabies shout should be administrated.

If the cat is not vaccinated, most vets recommend euthanasia.

FeLV Shot

The FeLV is the feline leukemia virus. A shot needs to be administrated in kittens, as the virus is highly contagious and may be spread through saliva or urine. A lot of cats get infected by fighting with a cat that carries the virus.

The FeLV is an immuno-suppressor virus and will cause anemia, weakness and cancer.

The symptoms of feline leukemia virus include fever, lack of appetite, anorexia, weight loss, lethargy or depression.

Cat leukemia has no treatment, but an infected cat may receive supportive care and live a long, normal life. However, the virus may be prevented with the vaccine.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Can Cause Death

FIP may have a wet and a dry form. The wet form causes fluid build up in organs, anorexia, dehydration and lethargy. The dry form will display lesions on the eyes and other symptoms of the wet form.

FIV Vaccine Often Not Recommended

FIV, also known as feline AIDS has a vaccine. However, many vets don't recommend this vaccine, as some vaccinated cats may test positive for FIV.

FIV suppresses the immune system and makes the cat more sensitive to infections.

Feline AIDS needs supportive care and special attention must be paid to secondary infections that may be fatal. A cat with FIV may live a long life.

Symptoms of FIV include:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Frequent infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Lack of appetite

The FIV cannot be transmitted to humans, but cats with FIV should be kept indoors to prevent the infection of other cats.