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Vaccines FAQs

Cats are prone to diseases that can make them sick and shorten their lifespan. Regular vaccination helps your cat stay healthy and free from illness. We are a cat-only veterinary practice, and our veterinarian provides care for felines at all stages of life. Here's a look at some frequently asked questions about cats and vaccines.

Cat Vaccination

How often does my kitten need vaccination?

The recommended vaccines for kittens are the rabies, after 12 weeks of age, and distemper, which consists of rhinotracheitis (the herpes virus), calicivirus, and panleukopenia. We will give the leukemia vaccine to cats at risk (going outdoors or living with a positive cat). Also, kittens don't start vaccines until 8 weeks of age. Given earlier, the immunity from the mother's milk will usually inactivate them. The last distemper should be given after 14-16 weeks (in a series of 2 or 3 vaccines 2-4 weeks apart). The rabies vaccine is required in our area, and can be given as a 1 year or 3 year; we only give the 1 year here to avoid complications with some 3 year vaccines. We also avoid using vaccines with adjuvants as they can be problematic for some cats.

Why do I have to get my cat vaccinated?

Vaccinating your cat protects them against common feline diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. They help lengthen your cat's life span and save you money by not spending excess money to treat your cat when it's sick. The rabies vaccine is essential as it prevents a cat from contracting rabies if a rabid animal bites it.

How frequently does my cat need a booster shot?

After the initial series of vaccinations are completed, your cat needs vaccines on a schedule appropriate for their lifestyle. For example, a cat that lives entirely indoors needs fewer booster shots, while a cat that goes outdoors will need vaccines more frequently. The veterinarian can help you create a vaccine schedule tailored to your cat's needs.

Are there risks with vaccination?

A majority of cats can tolerate their vaccines with little ill effects. You may notice your cat behaving under the weather for a day after receiving their shots but bounce back to their usual selves. However, an allergic reaction is always possible. Call the vet for an emergency appointment if you see vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing.

Contact us at The Cat Practice in Oak Park, IL

When it's time for your new kitten or adult cat to get their first vaccines or booster shots, call us to set up an appointment. Our veterinarian takes the time to explain the necessary vaccines and the importance of maintaining a regular vaccination schedule to keep your cat happy and healthy.