Just like us humans, cats also need to take or follow a vaccination schedule to prevent certain diseases that may affect them. These cat vaccinations are a great boon for them as they help the cats live a healthy as well as a longer life. Cat vaccinations come in different combinations and are aimed at targeting a particular disease. Though these vaccines protect these animals, but they are not free of risks. Some cat vaccines are essential for cats, while some are optional. Whether to vaccinate your cat with these optional vaccines depend on various factors, which includes the age of the cat, overall health, breed and whether there is any possibility of contracting that particular disease in that locality or area of residence.
There is a long-standing debate about whether these vaccines are for a short-term and the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. The risks and benefits need to be studied and a good vet will be the right person to do this.
Though these vaccines protect these animals, but they are not free of risks.
What are cat vaccines?
Just like vaccines protect us humans from various life-threatening ailments, the cat vaccinations are also designed to protect its immune system to fight various disease causing organisms. Vaccines are made of antigens that are very similar to the organisms that cause the disease, but in reality its main aim is to protect the immune system by strengthening it. Whenever any new vaccine is introduced to the cat’s body, it stimulates the immune system.
When a cat’s immune system is exposed to the disease causing organisms, it is now well prepared to fight it off completely or in some cases lessen the severity of the disease leaving your pet healthy.
Does a healthy cat need cat vaccinations?
Certain types of cat vaccines are needed to keep your cat healthy and protect it from very common life-threatening ailments; these vaccines are called core vaccines and should not be avoided. All cats need to be given these core vaccines, but there are certain vaccines that may not be needed for all cats and can be avoided. Depending on the breed and age of your cat and various other factors like location, lifestyle, and medical history, the vet will be able to chart out a list of vaccines that are compulsory as well as optional. Once the cat vaccination schedule is charted you just need to follow them for maintaining the health of your pet cat. The vets will always insist on giving the core vaccines.
Core Cat Vaccines
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), there are two set of vaccines. One set includes the core vaccines while the others include the non-core vaccines. The core vaccines are essential for the overall well-being of your cat. These vaccines helps in protecting your cat against some very commonly found diseases that may affect your cat. These diseases include panleukopenia or feline distemper, rabies, rhinotracheitis, and Calcivirus. These above four vaccines are necessary to be administered to protect your cat. The association recommends administering these above vaccines every three years and cats that are at a high risk of exposure to the disease causing organisms will benefit from these vaccinations. Whether to vaccinate every few years or not, should be considered only after consulting the vet and according to the lifestyle of the cat since various factors can keep changing.
Non-Core Cat Vaccines
Optional or non-core vaccines are given depending on the health, age, breed and lifestyle of the cat. The non-core vaccines include Bordetella, feline leukemia, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and Chlamydophila. The AAFP does not recommend the feline leukemia vaccine for indoor cats that have no exposure to outdoor cats. Although these vaccines need to be given to kittens, initially as their lifestyle may change later on. The FIP and the Giardia cat vaccinations are not recommended. Whether to administer the Chlamydophila vaccine is a personal choice and depends on the prevailing conditions in the area of residence.
Should you vaccinate regularly
Regular vaccinations, especially boosters should be given only after consulting the vet. A veterinarian is the right person to decide here. Usually adult cats are vaccinated every year or every three years depending on the various other factors best known to the vet.
What is the right age to vaccinate a kitten?
A healthy mother will always have healthy kittens. Generally kittens get their antibodies from their mother’s milk if she has a healthy immune system. These antibodies are capable of protecting the kittens until they develop their immune system.
The vaccination schedule begins as soon as the kitten reaches eight weeks and will continue until they reach around 16 weeks of age. You will have to vaccinate the kitten every four weeks.
Are there any laws regarding cat vaccinations?
Every state has its own law regarding vaccines. Some states may require the cat be vaccinated for rabies every year, while others may want them to be vaccinated once every three years.
Adverse reaction to the above recommended vaccines will vary and depends a lot on various other factors. The factors include age of the cat, number of vaccines, type of vaccine, breed, overall health of the cat, whether the cat is neutered or not, and of course the past vaccination history. Side effects if any can develop within a few hours of administration. Some very common side effects include mild fever, decreased appetite, lethargy and some discomfort around the area of vaccination.
Serious side effects include itchy or bumpy skin, continuous vomiting and diarrhea. If the side effects are severe, it can be life-threatening and may need immediate medical help. In such a case take your pet to the nearest vet for immediate medical care. Usually the risks are small than the disease. Before administering any vaccine, always take your feline friends medical history with you so that the vet can take an informed decision.
Cat vaccinations are a necessity as they protect your feline friend from harmful and life-threatening diseases. The present day vaccines are tested for efficiency and are considered safe to administer. Only after careful assessment, will your veterinarian suggest a vaccination to be administered.