Vaccinations play a critical role in keeping cats healthy throughout their lifetime. Our Denver vet recommends following this vaccination schedule for indoor cats, outdoor cats, and kittens to protect them from several potentially deadly feline diseases.
Why should I get my cat vaccinated?
To protect your kitten from contracting several serious feline-specific diseases, it is essential to have your kitten vaccinated. After your kitten's first vaccinations it is equally important to follow up with regular booster shots throughout your cat's lifetime.
As the effectiveness of the initial vaccine wears off, booster shots "boost" your cat's defense against a variety of feline diseases. Various vaccines have booster shots that are administered on different schedules. When to take your cat back for the booster shots will be specified by your veterinarian.
Vaccinations for cats fall into two basic types.
Core vaccinations are recommended for all cats. These vaccinations are considered vital for protecting your cat from the following common and serious feline conditions:
- Panleukopenia (feline distemper)
- Feline calicivirus (FCV)
- Feline herpesvirus type I (FHV, FHV-1)
Non-core vaccinations are suitable for some cats, based on their lifestyle. Your vet will advise you as to which non-core vaccines are recommended for your cat. Non-core vaccines include protection against:
- Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
- Chlamydophila felis
- Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
When should my kitten get their first shots?
Your kitten should visit the vet for their initial round of vaccinations when they are between six and eight weeks old. Following that, until your kitten is about 16 weeks old, a series of vaccinations should be given at three- or four-week intervals.
When should I bring my cat back to the vet for booster shots?
Adult cats should receive booster shots either yearly or every three years depending on the vaccine. Your vet will advise you on when you bring your adult cat back for their booster shots.
Will my kitten be protected after the first round of shots?
When your kitten is 12 to 16 weeks old and has received all of their shots, they are considered to be fully immunized. Your kitten will be protected against the diseases covered by the vaccines once they have received all of those initial vaccinations.
If you want to allow your kitten outdoors before they have received all of their vaccines, it is a good idea to keep them confined to low-risk areas such as your backyard.
Do I need to get my indoor cat vaccinated?
Your indoor cat may not need a rabies vaccination, but many states, including Tennessee, mandate that cats older than six months old receive a rabies vaccination. Your veterinarian will give you a certificate of vaccination after your cat has been vaccinated, which you should keep in a secure location.
When it comes to your cat's health it's always better to err on the side of caution. Cats can be curious creatures. Our vets recommend that indoor cats receive all of the core vaccinations to protect against diseases they may be exposed to if they manage to escape the safety of home.