A Complete Guide to Vaccinations For Your Cat or Kitten

Kitten vaccinations give your tiny feline friend the best start in life, by protecting them from the many diseases and infections they can encounter in their early adventures.

Around 6 weeks of age, the immune-building antibodies that kittens receive from their mother’s milk begin to wear off. This is right around the time that your curious kitty will begin to explore their surroundings and this is when kitten immunisations need to start.

Below we cover some common cat vaccination questions:

  • How many vaccinations do kittens need?
  • What diseases do the immunisations fight off?
  • How early should I start kitten vaccinations?
  • What kitten immunisations do vets recommend?
  • Will my cat need vaccinations when they reach adulthood?

Common Cat Diseases Explained

Because there is no way to know specifically which infection or disease your cat may be exposed to, your vet will reccomend the appropriate kitten immunisation schedule for the best protection suitable for them.

Newborn kittens take a few months to develop a strong immune system. Before they can fight diseases by themselves, sticking to the recommended vaccination schedule is vital and will prevent them from catching and spreading potentially deadly diseases.

Core vaccines (essential)
Every kitten must be immunised against the following most common feline diseases.

  • Panleukopenia
  • Herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis)
  • Calicivirus (essential)

At Vetwest we recommend protecting your cat against common feline diseases with the 5 in 1 vaccination. This complete vaccination includes the core vaccines plus the non-core vaccines below, to protect your growing cat.

Non-core vaccines (recommended)
At Vetwest, we also recommend protecting your cat against the following diseases. If your cat is going to be a strictly indoor cat then it may not be required but accidents happen and cats can escape so it's always best to ensure your cat is protected.

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus
  • Feline leukaemia
  • Feline chlamydia

Read more about common cat and kitten diseases here.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule

You should begin kitten immunisations at the earliest opportunity – ideally at 6 weeks. Vetwest veterinarians recommend following a 3-month vaccination schedule:

KITTEN VACCINATION SCHEDULE

6 - 8 Weeks
- First FVRCP vaccination to protect against Panleukopenia, Herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis) and Calicivirus (essential)
- Plus non-core vaccination to protect against FeLV, Chlamydophila and FIV (recommended)

10 - 12 Weeks (4 weeks after 1st vaccination)
- Booster FVRCP vaccination to protect against Panleukopenia, Herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis) and Calicivirus (essential)
- Booster non-core vaccination to protect against FeLV, Chlamydophila and FIV (recommended)

12 months later and annualy for life
- Booster FVRCP vaccination to protect against Panleukopenia, Herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis) and Calicivirus (essential)
- Booster non-core vaccination to protect against FeLV, Chlamydophila and FIV (recommended)

If you miss a kitten immunisation appointment or are late with a booster, the best course of action is to contact your Vetwest vet clinic as early as possible to book an appointment.

Vaccinations for Adult Cats

Cat vaccinations don’t end once your cat reaches 16 weeks old – but they do slow down. By adulthood (1-2 years old) your cat’s immune system is fully developed, with the help of those early kitten immunisations.

Your cat should now receive vaccination boosters every year. At Vetwest, your cat's vaccination includes a full nose-to-tail health check to ensure they are keeping healthy and are fit for their vaccination. It also gives you the opportunity to raise any concerns you may have about your cat's health. Your cat's annual vaccination ‘tops up’ the vaccine’s effectiveness, keeping your cat and their friends (both feline and human) protected against potentially devastating diseases.

Vaccination Aftercare

In rare cases, your cat may experience some side effects afer vaccination but they are usually minor and pass within 24 - 48 hours. We recommend keeping a close eye on your kitten during the first vaccinations, preferably in the comfortable surrounds of your Vetwest vet clinic or in a safe and warm space at home.

If there are side effects such as lethargy or appetite loss, they will likely disappear in a day or two. If they continue for more than 48 hours, or you notice other worrying signs, then please contact us for appropriate kitten vaccination aftercare advice.

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