Have you welcomed home a new furry feline recently? Congratulations! That’s a big step to take and we know you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Don’t panic yet! Yes, there are many important things you need to consider when you bring home a kitten, including food, accessories, and toys. In this blog, we’re going to answer your questions surrounding one of the most important pet topics: vaccines for cats. As a pet parent, you now need to know about which ones are essential and what the proper cat vaccine schedule is in Canada. Remember, required vaccines vary between dogs and cats and will also be impacted by your lifestyle!
What vaccines do indoor cats need?
Your cat is going to be staying indoors living an absolutely pampered life, so he or she has no need for vaccines, right? WRONG. Although your indoor cat isn’t at as much risk as outdoor cats, it’s still important you get them protected with the right vaccines.
Essentials vaccines for all cats, including indoor cats are:
- Rabies vaccine
- Panleukopenia (or feline distemper) vaccine
- Feline calicivirus vaccine
- Feline viral rhinotracheitis vaccine
Rabies vaccine for cats
Rabies is a fatal disease in cats, as well as many other animals (including humans). It is an acute viral infection of the nervous system and most people relate it to the “mad-dog” syndrome. However, cats are the most commonly reported rabid domestic animal in the United States, even above dogs. That’s why it’s essential that you protect your new kitty by getting a rabies vaccine.
Schedule for Cat Rabies Vaccine
If you’ve adopted a kitten, he or she can get a single dose as early as 8 weeks of age. Once your kitten hits a year, he or she will need to be revaccinated against rabies. Based on cat vaccination schedules in BC, there is a lot of variation in products, so talk to your vet about whether your cat will need to get annual boosters or wait every 3 years. If you’ve adopted an adult cat, get them a rabies vaccine right away and consult with your vet about whether to wait 1 – 3 years between boosters.
Always get your cat’s medical records whether you decide to buy from a breeder or adopt from a rescue agency!
The FVRCP vaccination is actually a combo shot that will protect against the other three major diseases that endanger cats: Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper), Feline Calicivirus, and Feline Herpesvirus or Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis.
Why are these diseases so dangerous for cats?
- Feline Distemper, a serious contagious disease, commonly strikes kittens and can be fatal
- Calicivirus is super contagious and causes upper respiratory issues along with other symptoms like joint pain, oral ulcerations, fever, and anorexia
- Feline herpesvirus causes feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), which is another very contagious upper respiratory condition
Schedule for Cat FVRCP Vaccine
Instead of needing to get 3 separate shots, your cat can get a FVRCP vaccination as early as 6 weeks of age. However, many vets recommend starting at 8 weeks of age and continuing with additional doses every three to four weeks until 16 weeks old. This means your cat will most likely get their FVRCP vaccine at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks of age.
Typical Kitten Vaccination Schedule
We’ve put together a simple infographic to help you visual what a common cat vaccination schedule in Canada looks like:
Once cats reach adulthood, some doses of vaccines are still required. Here are some important cat vaccine schedules to remember:
- FVRCP - After your kitten’s final round of FVRCP, he or she will need a renewal at the 3 year mark
- Rabies vaccine - Required a year after first rabies shot and 3 years later
- Bordetella - Annual booster required
Other situational shots
Other non-core vaccines can be required depending on whether they go outside, whether they see other cats, and which diseases are common in your environment. It’s important to talk to your vet about your cat’s probable lifestyle and they’ll be able to recommend which additional vaccinations your cat will need, if any.
Non-essential vaccinations fight against the following diseases:
- Feline leukaemia (FeLV) is a serious viral infection that can be spread through an infected cat’s bodily fluids (saliva, feces, urine, and milk). If your cat is going to explore the great outdoors, it’s necessary to get a vaccine against feline leukaemia since there is no cure.
- We mentioned Bordetella before. It is highly contagious in spaces crowded with animals, so if you’re bringing your cat to a groomer, playdate, or kennel, it’s important to consider a Bordetella vaccine. Keep in mind that this vaccine won’t stop your cat from getting the disease, but it will help keep the sickness mild and managed
Kafka’s is a local fresh pet food business that aims to make a healthy food alternative and provide important information to pet parents all over Vancouver. Our fresh dog & cat meals meet AAFCO standards for a complete and balanced food. Not only can Kafka’s food be used as a full meal, but it can also be used as a meal mixer and topper. We work hard to source ingredients locally whenever in season, carefully produce meals in a human-grade kitchen, and deliver it right to your doorstep quickly! Read more about why fresh food is a great option for your precious pet here. Don’t know how to start adding fresh food to our furry friend’s diet? No worries check out our feeding calculator that will help no matter what feeding style you decide on.