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What Age Should Kittens Get Shots

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Why Should I Get My Indoor Cat Vaccinated

All About Kittens: Kitten Growth Stages & Milestones!

Though you may not think your indoor cat requires vaccinations, by law cats must have certain vaccinations in many states. For example, a common law requires cats over the age of 6 months to be vaccinated against rabies. In return for the vaccinations, your veterinarian will provide you with a vaccination certificate, which should be stored in a safe place.

When considering your cats health, its always prudent to be cautious, as cats are often curious by nature. Our vets recommend core vaccinations for indoor cats to protect them against diseases they could be exposed to if they happen to escape the safety of your home.

Cat Vaccines

There are two basic types of vaccinations for cats.

Core vaccinations should be given to all cats, as they are essential for protecting them against the following common but serious feline conditions:


Rabies kills many mammals every year. These vaccinations are required by law for cats in most states.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia Typically known as the distemper shot, this combination vaccine protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.

Feline herpesvirus type I

Non-core vaccinations are appropriate for some cats depending on their lifestyle. Your vet will provide advice about which non-core vaccines your cat should have. These offer protection against:

Feline immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukemia


Chlamydophila felis

How Often Should Cats Be Vaccinated For Feline Leukemia

Duration of immunity depends on the precise vaccine used and the immune response of your cat: this can vary from 12 months to two or three years. Revaccination also depends on other factors such as the risk of your cat to exposure to the virus. The topic should be discussed with your own veterinarian at your cats annual veterinary check as part of their routine health care.

Does My Kitten Need Injections Immediately After They Are Born

At birth, kittens are protected by the antibodies passed on by the mother through her rst milk . They face a critical period when the concentration from the mother is no longer enough to protect against viruses but is still high enough to prevent effective vaccination. During this time a kitten is most vulnerable to infection.

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Core Vaccines For Cats

Core vaccines are vaccines that all cats should get.

The basic core starts with vaccination for calicivirus , herpes virus and panleukopenia , Dr. Eldredge told The Dodo. Feline leukemia and rabies are also considered to be core vaccines for most cats.

Herpes virus , calicivirus and panleukopenia are all covered in one combination vaccine called the FVRCP vaccine, while the vaccines for feline leukemia and rabies are administered individually.

Veterinary Care And Vaccinations For Kittens

What Age Should Your Kitten Be At Their First Vaccination?

Its a no-brainer, but your cat must be immunised to protect her from harmful, sometimes fatal, disease.

Before you pick up your new kitten and take it home, make sure that they have had their first vaccination. Kittens should receive they first vaccination between 6 to 8 weeks of age. This first vaccination starts to build your kittens defences against any potentially serious diseases.

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Here’s When Your Kitten Needs His Shots

When it comes to your kittens vaccines, it can be hard to keep track of which shots he needs and when.

Your veterinarian can help you determine your kittens recommended vaccine schedule, but its helpful for a pet parent to know what to expect so they can have informed discussions with their vet about their kittens health.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Debra Eldredge, a veterinarian with Senior Tail Waggers, to break down a typical kitten vaccine schedule.

How Much Do Titers Cost

Oftentimes, titers can be more expensive than the vaccine. For example, a feline core vaccine titer can cost $70 to $100, whereas the vaccine costs $30 to $60.

There is always the chance that the titer will indicate that your cat will still need to be vaccinated, and there will be the possible added expense of an office visit in addition to the cost of the vaccine. Plus, there is the additional time involved to bring your cat back.

It is important to discuss with your veterinarian if they recommend your cat be re-vaccinated or have a titer done.

Each cat has unique needs, lifestyles, and risk factors. Your veterinarian is your best resource to help you make the right vaccine decisions for your cat.

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Vaccines Your Kitten Should Have


Adopting a new kitten means going through many milestones together, including bringing your cat home for the first time, litter training her and introducing her to other animals to name a few. Other important first steps will take place in your veterinarian’s office. From vaccinations to spaying and neutering, being a new pet parent comes with new responsibilities.

To help you prepare, here’s a list of the most common kitten vaccinations vets recommend and why they’re important for your new family member. Educate yourself first, and then work with your vet to create a vaccine schedule right for your family.

What Other Vaccines Should I Consider

How To Raise A Kitten

Your vet may also discuss the rabies vaccine with you. Whether this is necessary will depend on your kittens lifestyle and if you have any plans to travel with them. For example, if you wish to travel with your kitten within the EU, the rabies vaccine is mandatory.

Making sure your kitten has the right vaccinations at the right age, is one of the most important things you can do to protect their health throughout their life.

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Find The Perfect Match

First, well meet with you to find out more about you and your pet preferences and answer your questions. Our goal is to help you find the pet that best fits your lifestyle and living situation so we want to make sure you have a realistic understanding of the time and resources necessary to provide training, medical treatment, and proper care for your new pet. This can take time so please allow at least one hour for the adoption process.

How Vaccines Are Administered

Most vaccines are given by injection, either under the skin or into the muscle. Some are administered in drop or mist form into the nostrils or eyes. The most novel way to give vaccines is to put them directly onto the skin. Multiple vaccines given in one shot are called combination or multivalent vaccines. In the past, many combination vaccines contained five or more antigens. The current trend is to reduce the number of antigens in multivalent vaccines, to increase effectiveness and decrease the burden on the vaccinated animals immune system.

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How Often Do Cats Need Flea Prevention

The question, How often do cats need shots? arose out of the context of flea prevention. Do all cats require flea preventatives, or are they more important for outdoor cats? Many people believe that fleas are contagious and are transmitted from pet to pet. Although a flea-infested cat may spread the infestation to any cat with whom he comes into contact, remember that fleas, although thoroughly detestable, have a remarkable capacity for spreading and surviving. Fleas can roam freely and can make their way into houses under their own steam. Therefore, indoor-only cats are at risk of flea infestation even if they do not come into contact with any other animals.

This does not necessarily mean that every cat requires a monthly flea preventative. Cats with no skin problems and no visible flea infestation can often get by with only occasional applications of flea preventatives. So, in short, flea prevention can be considered optional for all cats, but especially for indoor cats.

Be aware, however, that fleas are insidious, and it is not uncommon for cat owners to be unaware of significant infestations on their pets. Modern flea preventatives generally are safe, and fleas can cause all sorts of health problems. Therefore, unless you really know how to monitor for fleas, its better to err on the side of using flea preventatives rather than risking an infestation.

What Is The Distemper Vaccine For Cats

Rabies Vaccinations for Indoor Cats

The vaccine for Feline Distemper is included in the standard combination vaccine thats given to all kittens, otherwise known as the FVRCP vaccine.

Read More: FVRCP Vaccine for Cats: What You Need to Know

This vaccine includes Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis and Feline Calicivirus, upper respiratory infections are known generally as cat flu, whose signs include sneezing and nasal discharge. These are all known as core vaccines, meaning that vaccinating all cats against these diseases is recommended under the World Small Animal Veterinary Association and American Association of Feline Practitioners feline vaccination guidelines.

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How Much Does The Distemper Vaccine For Cats Cost

The cost depends on your location and your choice of veterinarian: you should phone around your local area to discover the range of prices in the market place. In general, the fee represents a combination of a veterinary clinical examination of your pet as well as the cost of the virus vaccine itself.

Can A Vaccinated Cat Still Catch Cat Flu

Although vaccinations provide excellent protection, none can guarantee 100% cover. So yes, theoretically, a vaccinated cat could still catch cat flu, but it is significantly less likely. In addition to this, if a vaccinated cat catches a disease they have been vaccinated against, they are likely to develop less symptoms and have a much quicker recovery.

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How Do I Prevent Fleas On My Kitten

No matter where you live, fleas may be a threat to your kitten and to your household. Fleas spend a short time on your kitten and then venture out into your home. Adult fleas feed on the cats blood, then hop off their host to lay eggs in the environment. Eggs hatch and the emerging larvae live and feed in your home. Larvae mature into pupae which lie dormant in your carpets, furniture, and floorboards. The pupae eventually hatch into adult fleas. The entire flea life cycle can take as little as 3-4 weeks under ideal conditions in unfavorable conditions, the cycle can take as long as a year. Therefore, it is important to kill fleas on your new kitten before they can become established in your home.

“Many of the flea control products that are safe on dogs are dangerous for kittens.”

Many of the flea control products that are safe on dogs are dangerous for kittens, so consult your veterinarian before choosing a flea control product. There are many safe oral and topical medications that control fleas, treat intestinal worms, and prevent heartworms all at the same time. These products are administered once a month, even in young kittens, and will protect both your cat and your home from fleas. Newer flea prevention products last 3-8 months. For more information on flea control, see the handout Flea Control in Cats.

Getting Your Kitten Vaccinated

What & How to Feed Kittens age 4 to 6 Weeks old

We recommended bringing your kitten in for their first round of vaccinations when they are between six and eight weeks old. Below is a series of vaccinations your kitten should given in three to four week intervals .

First visit

  • Fecal exam for parasites
  • Blood test for feline leukemia
  • Review nutrition and grooming
  • Vaccinations for chlamydia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis and panleukopenia

Second visit

  • Examination and external check for parasites
  • Second vaccinations for calicivirus rhinotracheitis, and panleukopenia

Third visit

  • Second feline leukemia vaccine
  • Rabies vaccine

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Why Should I Get My Cat Vaccinated

It’s essential to have your kitten vaccinated to protect them from contracting numerous serious feline-specific diseases. After your kitten has their first vaccinations, it’s equally important to follow up with regular booster shots during your cat’s lifetime.

Booster shots ‘boost’ your cat’s protection against many feline diseases, as the initial vaccine’s effects wear off. Booster shots for different vaccines are administered on varying schedules. Your vet will let you know when to bring your cat in for their booster shots.

Why Rabies Vaccinations Are Important

Cat vaccinations, especially for indoor cats, are often overlooked. However, a rabies vaccination is an important part of keeping your cat healthy. If your feline friend goes outside, a rabies vaccination is an absolute necessity. Rabies is transmitted from an infected animal through a bite or scratch, so just a small scuffle with an infected animal could pose a threat to your cat. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for cats who develop rabies, so prevention is the only way to protect your pet. A simple vaccination once a year can protect your kitten from a potentially life-threatening disease.

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Why Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccinations

If your cat lives exclusively indoors, they will still need to be vaccinated against cat flu and panleukopenia, but may not need the FeLV vaccine. This is because FeLV only usually spreads between cats in close and regular contact, but cat flu and panleukopaenia are very infectious and can spread on clothes, shoes, and other surfaces. If you have an indoor cat, discuss their vaccinations with your vet to find the best schedule for them.

Lifestyle Vaccines For Cats

What Age Should Your Kitten Be At Their First Vaccination?

Some cats will need lifestyle/ non-core vaccinations depending on the lifestyle they live. Your veterinarian will let you know which ones your kitty should get. This type of vaccine protects you cat from the following conditions:

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukemia – These vaccines usually are only recommended for cats that are outdoors often and protects them against viral infections which are contracted from close contact exposure.
  • Bordetella – A highly contagious bacteria that causes upper respiratory infections. Your vet might suggest this this vaccine if you are taking your cat to a boarding kennel or groomer.
  • Chlamydophila felis – This vaccination is often part of the distemper combination vaccine. It protects your cat from Chlamydia which is a bacterial infection that causes severe conjunctivitis.

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Vaccination Schedule For Kittens

Dr. Bartley Harrison is a veterinarian with more than 15 years of professional veterinary experience treating dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds, and small mammals, with a specific focus on Emergency Medicine. Dr. Harrison is part of The Spruce Pets veterinary review board.

The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

Your new kitten deserves the best start in life. This means providing everything she needs to grow and stay healthy. Vaccines are an important part of your kitten’s health care plan. Basic immunizations are essential to prevent your kitten from getting sick and avoid the spread of disease.

When Should Your Cat Get A Feline Leukemia Vaccine

Kittens should be given an initial vaccine at 8 12 weeks of age and second dose is normally given 3-4 weeks later. Annual booster vaccinations are recommended, but not necessary for every cat.

Kittens should be given an initial vaccine at 8 12 weeks of age, depending on the specific vaccine product and a second dose is normally given 3-4 weeks later. An annual booster vaccination is generally recommended but should be discussed with your vet annually.

These vaccinations are often combined with routine feline vaccines known as FVRCP against the common respiratory infections often called cat flu and feline panleukopenia .

The vaccine will not protect cats that are already infected with FeLV, so FeLV testing prior to vaccine administration is recommended.

Only healthy cats and FeLV negative cats should be vaccinated.

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The Problem With Titers

Typically, vaccines are given every year. With titers, there is no way to predict what the levels will be in three to six months, even if they tested high at the time of the titer testing. Many factors can affect the immune system and its level of resistance. Factors such as disease, stress, or medications can impact it, and therefore there is no consistency over time regarding what the antibody levels could be. This could put your cat at risk until you go in for another titer test.

Why Should I Have My Female Cat Spayed

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Spaying young cats offers several advantages:

  • Your cat will avoid heat periods, which usually begin at six to seven months of age and occur every two to three weeks in an unbred cat. During the heat period, female cats encourage the attention of male cats. The female cat will posture and vocalize, which can be annoying to owners so too can the presence of neighborhood male cats that mark the territory outside your house and fight off other suitors. Sometimes the natural urge to mate is so strong that your indoor cat will attempt to escape outdoors to breed.
  • Spaying prevents unplanned litters of kittens that often never find suitable homes.
  • Spaying prior to the first heat cycle greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer.
  • Spaying prevents cancers or infections of the reproductive organs.

Spaying a cat may be a common procedure, but all surgery must be taken seriously. The correct term for spaying is ovariohysterectomy, and refers to the complete removal of the uterus and ovaries under general anesthesia. An overnight stay in the hospital may be advised to allow close monitoring during recovery and provide adequate pain control .

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What Are The Recommended Kitten And Cat Vaccination Schedules

Kitten vaccinations and cat vaccinations are dependent upon several factors, including preexisting medical conditions and indoor or outdoor living situations. You should always discuss these factors with a veterinarian to determine what your cat vaccine schedule should be. However, we have listed an approximate cat vaccine schedule here for an ‘average’ indoor housecat to give you an idea of a cat vaccination timeline:

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