Necessary Vaccines for a indoor cat

If a cat is 100% inside, what vaccines are still necessary? I have lost two outdoor cats to cancer and don't want to give any vaccines that are not absolutely necessary.Thank you

  • Vetinfo

    By: Julie Ann El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    Veterinarians are becoming much more selective in choosing which vaccines to administer to their patients. The lifestyle of the pet has a big effect of which diseases they may encounter. Vaccine considerations for a totally indoor cat: First are you sure your cat is totally indoors? Does she sneak outside on occasion? You would be surprised what some owners consider totally indoors. If your cat never goes outside and has no contact with cats outside your home you may not need to vaccinate for Feline Leukemia. Feline Leukemia is spread either through bites from an infected cat or through shared food and water dishes. The virus is in the saliva. The saliva must still be wet to transmit the disease so food bowls must be shared by two cats eating together from the same dish or in immediate succession. Thankfully it is not a very hardy virus. Feline distemper, and the respiratory viruses rhinotracheitis and calici can be transmitted in the air. As a result the risk to an indoor cat is reduced but not completely eliminated. Feline distemper in particular has a high death rate so vaccination in most cases is still recommended. In many areas of the country the primary source of rabies in wild animals is the bat. If an infected bat enters a home through an unsealed attic and is flying erratically indoors guess who is going to catch it? The household cat. The risk is low but if it occurs and an unvaccinated cat is exposed to rabies in most cases the cat must be euthanized immediately. Rabies vaccination is also often mandated by local animal regulations. Discuss vaccinations with your veterinarian. Most vaccines give much longer immunity than previously known so as a whole we give far fewer during the lifetime of a pet than in years past. The risks and benefits need to be weighed to determine what is best for your cat. Remember also that if you bring a new kitten or cat into your household have it tested for feline leukemia and feline immunovirus before you allow it contact with existing cats in the household. Julie Ann, Vet Tech

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