What Vaccines Do Cats Need and When?

veterinarian with cat getting out of cage for vaccination

Cats vaccinations, the frequency, and when to get it are among the most debated questions in veterinary medicine. It is confusing and overwhelming to hear conflicting recommendations on whether your cat needs these specific cat injections and when they should be administered.

As cat owners trying to be responsible, you need to know the frequency of these feline vaccines to prepare for it financially.

Without proper planning, not only cat vaccinations can save your cats’ lives but also the medication costs in the long run. Do not wait till your cats are sick to take care. 

Classification of Cat Vaccines

The Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel evaluates and regularly revisits the vaccination developments in cats so the group can make recommendations based on scientifically proven facts.

This deciding organization classified cat vaccines into two main classifications: core vaccines for cats and non-core vaccines.

The Core Vaccines for Cats

These vaccines are non-negotiable, and all cats should be given these shots regardless of their living conditions, indoor or outdoor.

FVRCP Vaccine

The three core vaccines are all combined into a single vaccine for a 3-in-1 shot to protect these fatal common diseases such as:

  • Rhinotracheitis: This disease can lead to a severe upper respiratory tract disease (including rhinitissneezing and conjunctivitis).
  • Calicivirus: A virus that is an important cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats It can also cause chronic stomatitis, pneumonia, systemic disease or lameness.
  • Panleukopenia: a highly contagious viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus which leads to a very low white blood cell count and prevents the cat from being able to activate their immune system normally.

Non-core Vaccines for Cats

These vaccines are not required for all cats and are just recommended based on case to case basis. These are also known as lifestyle vaccines.

One of the highly recommended non-core vaccines is to address:

  • Chlamydia: This is caused by bacteria called Chlamydophila felis which attacks the eyes, nose, and throat of cats and if left untreated, it can spread into your cat's lungs.
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP): This is a viral disease that can affect both domestic and wild felines. Studies show that it is caused by a virus called coronavirus that targets the cells in a cat’s intestinal walls.

Additionally, like a booster shot, your vet may also advise getting a 4 in 1 vaccine for cats. This is preventive care for healthy cats against feline viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia and Chlamydia.

Frequency of Cat Vaccines

Kittens below 6 months are most vulnerable to contagious diseases and are hence the primary recipients of vaccinations. The first core kitten vaccinations happen at three to four-week intermissions until your cat becomes 16-20 weeks old.

Core vaccines should be done annually after the initial dose.

Non-core vaccines can be given when your veterinarian recommends it or sees it as a preventive need.


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