by Titunes Kittens

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Why I should vaccinate my cat!

When I ask some pets owners if their pets have their vaccines, I discover that some of them think that because they have indoor cats vaccines are not necessary. It also makes me think that perhaps these kittens also don’t have an annual vet check, because I am sure that most the veterinarians always recommend pet owners at least the core vaccines.

But first, what is a vaccine?

According to ASPCA, a vaccine helps our cats to prepare the body’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens (a weakened form of the organism from a virus or a bacteria) which basically enter into the cat’s body and just only tell the immune system: Hey! I am a bad guy; what are you going to do about it? This is when your cat’s immune system will trigger all the alerts, prepare arms and start to create soldiers to fight in case the real virus or bacteria appear

Main cat vaccine

This is the list of main vaccines for cats.

  • Rhinotracheitis (Feline herpesvirus type I or FHV-1), also part of the FVRCP vaccine.
  • Feline calicivirus (FCV), also part of the FVRCP vaccine.
  • Feline panleukopenia (Feline distemper or FPV), also part of the FVRCP vaccine.
  • Rabies.
  • Feline leukemia virus (FelV).
  • Bordetella.
  • Clamydophila felis.
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

Does my cat need all of them?

The answer is no. There is a vaccination protocol that your vet will follow according to your pet lifestyle, age, medical history, environment, etc but for this is important that you do at least one visit per year to control your cat’s health.

This protocol will include in most common cases what is called the core vaccines. These ones are considered vital to all pets but remember that vaccines for cats are no the same that those for dogs, except rabies and bordetella.

Vaccines and the law

In general, the rabies vaccine is the most important because it can be transmitted to humans and is fatal in most or almost all cases. In some areas, the requirement is yearly, and in others, every 3 years.

Proof of rabies vaccination is mandatory in almost all US and in New York is regulated under the 21 article as mandatory.


Vaccination for indoor/outdoor household cats

Exclusively indoor cats only require the core vaccines, however, in multicat household sometimes some cats are not monitored and can go out outside, so you must mention that to your vet.

Outdoor cats that spend most of their life outdoors are in constant risk of exposure to most infectious diseases like rabies, FeLV and FIV.

Important: A pregnant cat should never be vaccinated, it may cause cerebellar hypoplasia in kittens.


Vaccination of cats entering boarding facilities

If you must use this kind of place instead of getting a catsitter, consider 7-10 days before the boarding, a booster to FPV (f. panleukopenia), FHV-1 (rhinotracheitis) and FCV (f. calicivirus). Most of the serious and responsible boarding businesses require them.


There are some less common side effects like injection site tumors and immune diseases associated with vaccination. The number of these cases is not significant compared with the good results.

Some side effects that can occur:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • difficult breathing
  • seizures
  • lameness
  • pain, swelling, redness or hair loss around the injection area.

Remember to check your cat health at least once a year and ask your vet about your vaccine plan and possible side effects. Vaccination is another way to show how much we love them.


  • Pet WebMD
  • American Association of Feline Practitioners