Since vaccinations have become available many pets are saved from the ravages of serious and life threatening diseases.  By vaccinating your cats when they are kittens and having boosters throughout their lives, you reduce the risk of them contracting these diseases as well as spreading them through the community resulting in mass fatalities.

Kittens  will have some protection through the antibodies they receive from their mother’s milk, but these decline within the first couple of months. They need to drop enough so that they do not neutralise the vaccines. This means that they need to go through a full course of vaccinations in order to be adequately protected. Adult cats will need to be vaccinated on a regular basis in order to keep their immunity to the diseases. This is usually done at the annual health check. Regular boosters will ensure protection against a variety of diseases for the lifespan of your cat.

Cat Vaccination Guide

Kittens and unvaccinated adult cats should have a minimum of 2 vaccinations, 3 to 4 weeks apart against calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia, leukaemia virus and chlamydia. They should also have 3 vaccinations against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), 3 to 4 weeks apart. First vaccinations should be done on or after 8 weeks of age. Boosters should be done yearly thereafter.

After the vaccination, your cat may seem a little out of sorts for a couple of days. There may be some tenderness and inflammation at the vaccination site.  Your cat should be kept comfortable and be allowed to rest to recover quickly. Make sure they have adequate and easy access to food and water. If you find that your cat is having a usual or severe reaction to the vaccination, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Vaccinations are given against the following diseases:

  • Feline Enteritis (also known as Feline Panleucopenia) which is a highly contagious disease with a very high death rate especially for cats under a year old. Pregnant cats are at risk of aborting their kittens, having still births or having kittens with abnormalities and even brain damage. Symptoms of the disease include: incontrollable diarrhoea and vomiting which may contain blood, loss of appetite, depression and severe abdominal pain. The entire environment would need to be disinfected with a purpose made disinfectant. Some cats recover but can infect other cats for months afterwards.

  • Feline Respiratory Disease (Cat flu) is caused by feline calicivirus and/or feline herpesvirus (feline rhinotracheitis) in 9 out of 10 cases. This disease can be found in cats of any age but is especially prevalent in young kittens. Burmese and Siamese cats are more at risk that other breeds. This highly contagious disease causes runny eyes, sneezing, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, coughing and tongue ulcers. The chance of recovery is quite high in older cats but less so in kittens. After recovery, cats can still spread the disease for a long period as they become carriers. The disease can also reoccur if the cat becomes stressed out.

  • Chlamydia (also known as Chlamydophila) is a disease that causes persistent conjunctivitis which can be quite severe. Kittens are more likely to be affected than adult cats especially if they already have contracted Cat flu. The disease can be spread for months after infection.

  • Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) is caused by the feline leukaemia virus. The virus results in a depressed immune system, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, apathy, yellow or pale mucus members, problems with reproduction, high susceptibility to other illnesses and infections, tumour and blood cancer. Some cats do not show any signs or symptoms of the disease but may die due to contracting other infections. Some cats (around 30%) stay chronically infected and may shed the virus in their tears, saliva, urine and nasal secretions. Cats can pick up when fighting or grooming other cats. It can also be spread by fleas.

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a disease that affects the immune system. This means that the cat is not able to defend against viruses and disease, similar to AIDS in humans. Humans cannot pick up this disease from cats though. The disease is carried in the saliva as well as blood and is usually transferred through bites. Some cats don’t show signs of infection while others will have swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite and diarrhoea. Cats with this disease may also have a poor coat, sores in and around the mouth, weight loss, chronic infections and eye lesions. They will usually die as a result of an unrelated infection as their immune is not able to fight off the infection. Many cats in Australia are infected with FIV.

Contact us to discuss an effective vaccination schedule for your kitten or cat.