Many times I hear: my cat lives inside my house, it doesn’t go outside. Why do you need vaccinations?
It seems contradictory, right? If cats are not at risk of disease, why do they need essential vaccinations every three years?
Here are some good reasons for you to keep your cat up to date on his vaccinations.
Reasons to vaccinate your cat
Your cat could accidentally step outside, may slip through an open door before you know it, or a visitor could accidentally leave the door open, making it easier for your cat to escape.
You could get it back right away, or not realize it’s missing for several hours. It is enough time for him to fight a stray cat that carries a disease or meet an animal with Rabies .
But imagine that your cat, well identified with its collar and identification tag, is found but remains for a time in an animal shelter while they locate you. That is very stressful for any cat, especially one that is homey. Stress, combined with overcrowded conditions, can make cats more susceptible to disease.
Sometimes life brings changes that are beyond our control. Divorce, a move to a new home, travel, etc., may affect your cat’s circumstances and it may be necessary to move to a new home where it seems safe to let her roam, or she could find herself living with a new family that allows her to go outside. . There are many cats that started out as indoor kittens and later evolved into outdoor cats.
We can never know what will happen in the future, nor assume that our will never come into contact with a feline carrying a disease, so it is better to be prepared.
What vaccines a cat needs and how they work
The vaccines that a cat needs are the best way to protect a feline against infectious or bacterial diseases that can cost it its life.
Vaccines are a preparation of antigens that are obtained from very safe small amounts of viruses or bacteria previously weakened or destroyed. Once inside the cat’s body, they produce antibodies and thus a defense response against pathogenic microorganisms.
This response generates, in some cases, a certain “immune memory”. The cat’s immune system “remembers” the virus or bacteria that contained the vaccine and produces a transient immunity against it.
To discuss a vaccine schedule for cats, I will first divide vaccines into two types: major and nonessential.
The main vaccines are recommended for all cats, and non – essential vaccines is administered by risk for each cat.
What are the main vaccines for cats?
They are designed to keep your pet safe and free from certain conditions, so it is very important that you vaccinate your cat against these as soon as possible.
The trivalent vaccine for cats
This vaccine is an important part of your cat’s routine. Prevents from three potentially deadly viruses:
✔ Rhinotracheitis is triggered by the common feline herpes virus. Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, and drooling. If left untreated, this disease causes dehydration, starvation, and eventually death.
✔ Calicivirus , a disease I wrote about in another article, has similar symptoms, affecting the respiratory system and also causing mouth ulcers. It can cause pneumonia if it is not treated.
✔ The Panleucopenia also known as distemper and is easily transmitted from one cat to another. It is especially common in kittens who have not yet been vaccinated against it, and symptoms include fever, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. This disease progresses rapidly and requires immediate veterinary attention. Without intervention, a cat can die within twelve hours of contracting the disease.
These three viruses can be contracted by cats at any age. Kittens should receive their first trivalent vaccine when they are 6 to 8 weeks old , followed by three booster shots once a month.
Adult cats should receive a booster once every year or two, according to the vet’s recommendation.
Adult cats without vaccination records should receive a feline trivalent vaccine (FVRCP) , plus a booster.
What are non-essential vaccinations for cats?
Your cat will only require non-essential cat vaccinations if, for whatever reason, it is at risk of infection and needs additional protection.
The non-essential vaccines, which together with the Trivalent vaccine would form the Pentavalent vaccine are:
✔The Feline Leukemia Vaccine (FELV) that is transmitted by contact and can cause anemia, vomiting and diarrhea. Lto Feline Leukemia does not actually cause cancer in a cat. It got its name because its symptoms mimic those of Leukemia. The virus destroys a cat’s immune system, making it vulnerable to all kinds of secondary infections.
Cats contract the Feline Leukemia virus from other cats. An infected mother can infect her kittens or other cats through scratches and bites. Sometimes it takes only light contact with an infected cat for another feline to contract the virus, so it is important to keep infected cats in quarantine.
If your cat does not go outside, the vaccine is not necessary, that is why it is not included in the main vaccines.
✔ The Rabies vaccine, this vaccine is given when the kitten is between 3 and 6 months old. It is a mandatory vaccine by law for international travel with your cat. It is also mandatory (although you do not travel) if you live in some countries.
As it is not mandatory in all places, not all owners vaccinate their cats against rabies. Your veterinarian will inform you about the local regulations and the incidence of this disease in your region, so that you know if you should give this vaccine to your cat.
Kitten vaccination schedule
Kittens from 6-8 weeks of age lose the immunity that their mother passes to them, so you should start worrying about the first vaccines.
You should think about not letting him go outside or interact with other cats to avoid possible illnesses.
This would be a vaccination schedule for baby kittens:
- 2 months: Trivalent vaccine(panleukopenia, calicivirus and rhinotracheitis).
- 2 1/2 months: feline Leukemiavaccine
- 3 months: booster vaccination of the trivalent(second dose).
- 3 1/2 months: Feline Leukemiabooster vaccine (second dose).
- 5 months: Rabiesvaccine .
Vaccination schedule for adult cats
Annually it is convenient to revaccinate your cat to protect it against diseases. This time, it is vaccinated to maintain its active effects for another year.
The vaccines for revaccination would be:
- Feline leukemiavaccine for outdoor cats .
- Trivalent or triple felinevaccine .
- Rabies vaccine if required by law.
If you have acquired an adult cat and you do not know if it is vaccinated, you should perform a leukemia and feline immunodeficiency test , first to confirm that it is healthy and, second, because we should never vaccinate against leukemia if the cat is already a carrier.
Side effects of the trivalent vaccine for cats
An allergic reaction to vaccines in cats is caused by an overly reactive response of the immune system. The antigen within the vaccine is used to stimulate the cat’s immune system and create specialized antibodies against viruses, bacteria, or disease. However, in some cats the immune system is hypersensitive and overreacts to this antigen.
As side effects to vaccination would be:
- Periorbital or facial edema.
- Generalized itching.
Mild to moderate cases of an allergic reaction can be treated symptomatically with anti-inflammatory medications, the cat should return to normal within a week.
Moderate allergic reactions can worsen over time and become severe, so the feline will need to be monitored for the duration of the allergy.
Cats with a severe allergic reaction to vaccines should be taken to the veterinary emergency clinic immediately. The vet will administer life support to the feline, including IV fluids and oxygen. The cat’s airways will be monitored to ensure they do not close at all Stabilized felines are likely to survive anaphylaxis .
How often do you have to deworm it?
In addition to the above vaccines, you should deworm your cat every two weeks to prevent the offensive of external parasites that will not only affect him, but all members of the house.
You have to start deworming it from the first 15 days of life until it reaches a weight of between 3 and 4 kilos. From this moment on, you will no longer have to perform this task every two weeks, but doing it every 3 months is enough.
What are the prices of vaccines for cats?
The price of each vaccine ranges between 21 and 27 euros and the cost of deworming every 15 days is approximately 8 euros.
In order not to have major outlays in the future, it is necessary that we have these expenses of the cat in its first year of life to later save us higher costs.
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