Why Do We Give All Those Vaccines to Cats?

Our feline friends not only need food, love, and a clean litter box (or two), but they also need vaccinations to keep them healthy! The Rabies, FVRCP, and FeLV vaccines each serve specific roles in protecting your cat’s health and happiness.

We’ve all heard of the RABIES virus. It is almost always fatal in any animal who contracts it – whether dog, human, cat, fox, coyote, or rodent. Rabies has lost much of its power to create fear in the developed world because we can effectively prevent transmission to our pets and ourselves. RABIES vaccination is governed by state law. If you don’t bring your records demonstrating your vaccination is up-to-date, we may have to revaccinate your pet. The Rabies Vaccine must be given once a year and is a MANDATORY vaccine for all pets.

FVRCP is the vaccine we will give multiple times every 3-4 weeks from the age of about 9 weeks until a kitten has reached between 16-18 weeks of age to ensure complete immunity. The vaccine protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus can both cause upper respiratory disease, signs of the disease can range from mild nasal discharge to severe discharge, redness, tongue ulcers, and pain of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Panleukopenia is also called feline parvovirus – attacking the rapidly-dividing cells of the gastrointestinal system and the immune system. The disease causes immunocompromise, meaning the cat cannot fight off infections, and inability to absorb nutrients. All of these viruses can lead to death. When your adult cat visits us, we will booster the FVRCP vaccine every year to make sure your cat stays immune and healthy.

Vaccines for Cats

FeLV stands for the Feline Leukemia Virus. As terrifying as this disease sounds (and it is fatal), there is hope. Kittens and young cats primarily get the disease from their mother, grooming, or fighting – primarily among cats who go outdoors or multi-cat households. Vaccination against the disease can prevent transmission and the disease has reduced in frequency due to vaccination and identification efforts over the past years. Kittens will receive 2 vaccinations against FeLV, and then a booster at one year of age if they do not go outside. Adult cats who do go outside will need to receive annual vaccination against this terrible illness.

Unfortunately, there are still many diseases which don’t have vaccines that can prevent them. Please have your cats evaluated by your veterinarian every year for the best healthcare possible.