The Appropriate Cat Vaccination Schedule in Mishawaka, IN
Our cats are amazing creatures, they will happily curl up for a nap in our laps, or attack the fly buzzing around your houseplant with the ferocity of a wild jungle panther! Because they are so instinctually driven and independent, it is important to protect your cat from everything you can, because, let’s face it, they do what they want. Vaccinations are essential for the animals we keep in our homes. Keeping your cat up to date on their vaccinations and routine care is the best way to protect your feline friend from contracting highly contagious viruses, infections, or diseases and to maintain their optimal health. The highly contagious nature of feline diseases, combined with their social nature makes vaccinations imperative for the health of the entire local cat population.
Six Weeks: Your Kitten’s First Vaccinations!
The first time your new kitten should be seen by a vet is around six weeks. At this point the kittens will be mostly independent from their mothers and her milk will no longer provide the necessary antibodies to protect her kittens. From here on, its our job to protect the kittens from contracting preventable, highly contagious diseases. Around six weeks of age, kittens are eligible to receive their first rounds of vaccinations; it’s also a great time to check-in with your veterinarian that your kittens are reaching all the correct developmental milestones and are in good overall health.
At your kittens first veterinary visit, your vet will vaccinate for bordetella, will give the first of a series of three vaccines that protect against feline rhinotracheitis virus/feline herpesvirus (FVR/FHV-1), feline calcivirus (FCV), and feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), called the FVRCP vaccine, perform a physical and fecal exam to find and treat internal and external parasites, and take a blood sample to test for Feline Leukemia.
If you are working through a reputable breeder or adoption agency, your kitten will probably already have received their first round of vaccinations. Make sure to ask when you pick up your new kitten if they have already received any vaccinations, fecal exams, or blood tests so that you and your veterinarian can stay on the correct timeline and not have to repeat any procedures.
Nine Weeks: Your Kitten’s Second Visit
Your Kitten’s second visit will be relatively simple, they will receive the second dose of three FVRCP vaccinations, if they test negative for the feline leukemia virus and will be exposed to any other cats, they will receive their first of two FeLV vaccinations, and they may be eligible to receive their first rabies vaccine depending on the specific type and brand of rabies vaccine your vet prefers. There are several different brands of rabies vaccines for veterinarians to choose from, but they could be categorized into two main types of vaccines, vaccines that contain adjuvants, and those that do not. Adjuvants are developed to amplify the cats immune response to the vaccines, but have been known to cause adverse reactions in some pets, so vaccinations have been developed recently that do not contain any adjuvants to reduce the risk of reaction. Many vets still offer both types of rabies vaccinations, as they both offer benefits and drawbacks. Work with your veterinarian to ensure your cat is vaccinated in accordance with the manufacturers’ instruction.
Twelve Weeks: Your Kitten’s Last Baby Shots!
At your kitten’s third visit, they will receive their last FVRCP vaccination, and the second dose of their FeLV vaccination if your kitten qualifies. Your vet will also conduct a thorough physical examination of your cat to make sure it is reaching its developmental targets and is in excellent overall health.
At twelve weeks your kitten should be fully vaccinated and protected from rabies, feline distemper, feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, chlamydia felis, feline leukemia virus, and bordetella. It is a good idea to ask your veterinarian about their preferred schedule for administering booster vaccines at this visit, as the timeline differs slightly depending on the types of vaccines your vet administered.
Your veterinarian should be happy to address any questions you have about your kitten, as you will have gotten to know each other pretty well over the past twelve weeks! It is a great idea to maintain a good relationship with your cat’s veterinarian because they will be a great resource throughout your cat’s life when you have questions regarding their health or behavior.
One year: Your Cat’s First Adult Checkup
Your now adult cat will be ready to receive its first booster vaccines at their one year appointment. A booster vaccine is a smaller dose of a vaccine given in order to “refresh” your cats immune response to various diseases and ensure they are still protected against them. Your vet will administer a bordetella booster at this appointment if it is appropriate for your cat. Depending on the type and brand of rabies vaccine you and your vet administered, your cat may be due for a rabies booster as well. Your cat will also need a FVRCP booster to prevent Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpesvirus), Calcivirus, and Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper). Cats who are immunocompromised or have other underlying conditions that put them at risk of contracting FHV will need a Feline Herpesvirus booster.
Two Years: Boosters and a Checkup
At two years of age, your cat will be due for another bordetella booster, a Feline Leukemia Virus booster, and a Rabies booster if a one-year rabies vaccine was administered, or if your state regulations require that your cat is vaccinated for rabies annually. Cats who are at low-risk for FeLV, will be receiving their first booster at this appointment.
Three Years: A Fully Vaccinated Cat
Your cat’s three year appointment will require a rabies booster regardless of which rabies vaccine your vet used for your cat’s first series of rabies vaccinations, an annual bordetella booster, and their second FVRCP booster to protect from feline herpesvirus, calcivirus, and feline distemper. From their three year appointment, your cat should have received all of their vaccinations and boosters at least once. Make sure to stay up to date with your cat’s veterinary records to keep track of their booster schedule moving forward!
It is so important to protect your kitten’s health in order to give them the best chance at a healthy, happy life! One of the simplest ways to do that is to make sure they are protected from preventable diseases by maintaining their vaccination schedule. It seems like there is a lot to keep track of, but remember, you should feel comfortable asking your vet questions if there is anything you are unsure of or worried about.
Your vet will be able to guide you through the tests, vaccinations, and physical exams that come along with raising a healthy cat, and will help give you advice on any physical or behavioral concerns you are having with your cat. They are dedicated to providing you and your cat with the happiest and healthiest life together through recognizing and preventing disease for your cat and for the safety of all the cats in the community! Call us at (574) 256-1871 or Request an Appointment to get your cat vaccinated today.