Vaccine Schedule for Your Cat, Pt.2
* This article is based on the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines
This is the second vaccination article following our article on dogs. Similar to dog parents, most cat parents have little knowledge about their cats' vaccinations. However, no parent can deny the necessity of vaccinations, and it's best to stick to the suggested vaccination schedule strictly. So, let's learn once and for all today.
Like dog vaccinations, cat vaccinations are mainly divided into recommended and optional categories, with the dosage and interval of vaccinations varying according to age.
※ This vaccination schedule is for pet cats. For cats from a shelter, refer to the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines.
Recommended and Optional
Panleukopenia Virus, Rhinotracheitis (Herpesvirus-1), Calicivirus, Leukemia Virus, Rabies
Generally, panleukopenia virus, rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus-1), calicivirus are all covered by a 3 in 1 vaccination called FVRCP. Some cat parents might think that their cat doesn't need a rabies vaccine because they have an indoor cat, but a rabies vaccination is necessary as the law requires it. Cats also can get the leukemia virus from outdoors or around unvaccinated cats. Because leukemia virus can cause critical damage to a cat's immune system and is one of the most common contagious cat diseases in the U.S., a leukemia virus vaccination is necessary.
What about the rest of the vaccines?
Every vaccine not mentioned above is an optional vaccine. Depending on your lifestyle, you may choose to get additional vaccinations. For example, bordetella is spread through droplets. So, it's recommended for cats with lots of outdoor interactions. Chlamydia felis is commonly spread through the secretion from other cats' eyes. Thus, recommended optional vaccines differ for each case. So, we recommend planning out a schedule after consulting your regular vet.
Is Your Kitten Over or Under 16 Weeks of Age?
The vaccination schedules for kittens under 16 weeks of age and kittens over 16 weeks are different. If your cat is over 16 weeks of age, your cat should get a combination vaccine once or twice, and the time interval depends on the type of the vaccination. Leukemia virus shots should be given twice within a 3-4 week range.
※ Remember! Booster shots for rabies are usually given every three years. However, consult your veterinarian because this may also differ depending on your state.