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Cat Vaccination FAQs

By vaccinating your cat, not only do you have peace of mind knowing that your pet is protected, it helps prevent the spread of diseases. We share our cat vaccination FAQs to provide information to new and existing owners.

What Is A Vaccine?

A vaccination is an injection designed to make a cat’s immune system create antibodies against specific infections.

How Do Vaccines Work?

When we give a vaccination we are injecting a small dose of a harmless version of the virus we want to protect your cat against.
This allows the body produce a protective response without having been in contact with the dangerous form of the disease. Once the cat has responded to the vaccine if it comes into contact with the virus in later life it will have natural protection also known as immunity.

What Are The Main Things That Cats Are Vaccinated Against?

  • Cat flu – caused by feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus
  • Feline infectious enteritis
  • Feline leukaemia

How Old Does My Cat Need To Be Before They Can Be Vaccinated?

Cats can start their vaccines from 8-9 weeks old and their second vaccination must be after they’re 12 weeks old. There must be a gap of at least 3 weeks but no more than 4 weeks between the first and second vaccinations.

Will Vaccination Hurt My Cat?

There may be some mild discomfort associated with the injection although we do use small needles.

Are There Any Side Effects To Feline/Cat Vaccinations?

Vaccine reactions are uncommon and usually mild. Side effects may include swelling or firmness at the site of the injection this will usually settle in time.

If it does not we advise you get the swelling checked as in some rare cases it may develop into something more serious.

Your cat may be a little quiet and off their food, or have a mild temperature – this is completely normal. Please contact us if you are concerned about any side effects.

I Don’t Know If My New Cat Has Been Fully Vaccinated. What Do I Do?

If your cat has come to you with no vaccination history it is usually better to assume that they have not had vaccines and start the course of vaccines for them to ensure that they are fully protected.

The other option would be to titre test them to assess their levels of antibodies.

What Happens If My Cat Misses A Booster?

It depends on how long over their booster due date it has been. There is some leeway with booster vaccinations but this varies so we would advise you check with your vet. If it has been too long after their last vaccination it may be necessary to re-start the course as if they were a kitten.

How Often Should We Vaccinate Our Cat and Why?

After the initial course of vaccines we advise yearly vaccinations in order to boost your cat’s immunity.

We are aware people are worried about over-vaccination and many feel that it’s unnecessary to vaccinate every year. This is true for only some of the diseases we vaccinate against.

However the viruses that cause cat flu and feline leukaemia do require yearly vaccination, that’s why we use a rolling protocol for our vaccines. By only vaccinating against things that are needed, this prevents over-vaccination but still ensures your cat is fully protected from illness and disease.

What’s Included In My Cat’s Booster Vaccination?

We don’t vaccinate against everything at each yearly booster as this is not necessary. Our cat booster protocol includes:

  • Year 1 Booster – Nobivac Ducat boosts immunity for herpes virus and (cat flu viruses)
  • Year 2 Booster – Nobivac Ducat boosts immunity for herpes virus and calicivirus
  • Year 3 Booster – Nobivac Tricat Trio boosts immunity for herpes virus, calicivirus and feline infectious enteritis
  • Year 4 Booster – Nobivac Ducat boosts immunity for herpes virus and calicivirus and so on

For cats vaccinated against FeLV we recommend a yearly booster vaccination.

What Vaccinations Does An Indoor Cat Need?

Indoor cats have a much lower risk of picking up infectious diseases. However, we still advise that they are vaccinated at least against cat flu and enteritis. These are the standard vaccines that are required if they need to go into a cattery. And because cats like being cats, there’s always a risk that they could escape out of an open door or window!

Some viruses survive for a time in the environment, so there is a chance, if owners touch an infected cat, the virus can be transmitted to their cat.

Can My Cat Be Vaccinated If They Are On Medication?

Depending on what medication your cat is on it is often possible to continue with their vaccines as normal.

Medicines that affect the immune system may affect the response they get to the vaccinations so they may have to be delayed. We would always advise discussing with your vet when vaccines are due if your cat is on any medication.

Can My Cat Be Vaccinated If They Are Unwell?

No, unfortunately not. Your cat needs to be fit and well when we give them their vaccinations to ensure that they obtain the correct immune response.

Can I Vaccinate My Pregnant Cat?

We don’t advise vaccinations if your cat is pregnant or feeding their young. This is because the safety of the vaccines has not been assessed in pregnant or lactating animals.

It is worth considering checking your cat’s vaccination status if you are thinking of breeding from them,
 and ensure they are fully up-to-date with vaccines prior to pregnancy to ensure they are fully protected.

Find Out More

If you have any questions following our cat vaccination FAQs or would like to find out more, please call your local practice.