Do You Have a Pet Cat? Learn about Vaccination Requirements for Indoor Cats!

Do You Have a Pet Cat? Learn about Vaccination Requirements for Indoor Cats!

April 11, 2024

Adopting a cat is not just about building companionship or having fun. Unlike human relationships, where two people mutually care for each other's health, the equation between pet owners and furry friends is entirely lopsided. Pet parents remain in charge of their four-legged companion’s wellbeing. It can be demanding, but this is what you sign up for by adopting an innocent animal. If you walk the path of pet parenting with this understanding, your journey will be exciting. You will enjoy the responsibilities coming your way. You will equip yourself with all types of knowledge regarding your little friend to make her feel comfortable. 

The more you read about her wellness, the more you will realize the importance of preventive care and timely medication for your cat. It will also bring your attention to cats’ vaccination requirements. You will find different people suggesting different things. What should you do? Do indoor cats need to be vaccinated? Some people believe indoor cats can do well without the shots. However, entertaining wrong ideas can be risky for your kitty's wellbeing. Let’s delve deeper into this to demystify the confusion around vaccines for indoor cats.

  • Importance of vaccinating indoor cats/ kittens

Vaccines and booster shots protect your furry friend from many potential health risks. That's why vets recommend them at different times to keep your furry pet's immunity level high. Even multiple American states have made vaccines mandatory for cats. Think of rabies vaccination, for example. As per state laws, cats must be vaccinated with rabies shots by six months. The vet will give a certificate to testify that your pet got the essential dose. 

If you talk to vets, they recommend that indoor cats get their vaccines on scheduled time to stay safe from contagious diseases that can quickly spread when they leave the house for outdoor fun, grooming, or other purposes. Hence, it’s clear that vaccination is necessary for your pet’s long life. The earlier records also suggest that the medicated doses shield them from insidious diseases.

  • The working of cat vaccines

Vaccines resemble bacteria and viruses, but they don't cause illnesses. On the other hand, they boost immunity against the infectious agents. Once the dose enters the body, it prepares your cat's immunity to detect and fight infections by creating antibodies or special cells. Vaccines are a potent tool in preventive medicine, but these are yet to be 100% efficient. Plus, every cat can have a different experience with vaccines. Therefore, taking other preventive measures is equally vital. For example, you should keep your feline away from environments or other cats exposed to infectious agents for its security. 

  • Guidelines about cat vaccination 

An established and dedicated vaccination advisory body of vets and scientists decides about cat vaccinations. According to them, vaccines can be of two types—core and lifestyle or noncore. Core vaccines are compulsory, while the other depends on the vet's recommendations. Every cat should get core vaccines regardless of their living conditions. However, some cats can be given lifestyle vaccines based on specific circumstances.

  • Type of vaccines for your feline

Rabies and FVRCP vaccines are famous worldwide. Cats need them to stay safe from these dangerous diseases. Based on state laws and brands, the rabies vaccine is administered annually or once every three years. You must ensure your cat gets this because rabies can affect even humans due to its contagious nature. It can be fatal, too. Cats can acquire this disease from infected mammal bites and transmit it to others. Another recommendation for core vaccination includes the FVRCP vaccine. One shot protects cats from diseases like Feline rhinotracheitis virus, Feline Calicivirus, and Feline Panleukopenia. An indoor adult feline can be vaccinated with this once in three years. However, annual doses can be recommended for senior or young cats living indoors/outdoors or outdoors. 

Those who know little about Feline Panleukopenia (feline parvovirus) or Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus must study them. Feline parvovirus is an intensely infectious disease with a significant fatality rate in kittens. Initial symptoms of the disease can include appetite loss and low energy, culminating in vomiting and diarrhea. The virus can decrease white blood cells in their body, making them vulnerable to secondary infections. Likewise, Herpesvirus 1 or feline rhinotracheitis virus causes infection in the upper respiratory tract. Initial signs include congested nose, runny nose, sneezing, and conjunctivitis. Some pets can suffer from pneumonia and oral ulceration. Feline calicivirus also affects the upper respiratory tract, leading to nasal discharge, sneezing, and oral ulcerations. It can be linked with gum and teeth inflammation, hair loss, hepatitis, etc.

  • Vaccination timeline for feline

cat can become infected due to various reasons. A vet can determine your pet’s vaccination needs after assessing its age, medical background, vaccine report, state laws, condition of the pathogenic disease, exposure to risks, vaccine brand, etc. A vet must know about your cat’s daily habits to create a suitable vaccination protocol. Generally, kittens get their FVRCP (core) and FeLV (core) doses by six to eight weeks; FVRCP (first or second shot) and FeLV (first or second shot) by ten to twelve weeks; and FVRCP (if first shot was administered at 10-12 weeks), FeLV (if first shot was administered at 10-12 weeks), and rabies at 14-16 weeks. After one year, the cat will get booster shots for rabies and FVRCP.

Do you have an adult or senior cat? You may take her for the noncore FELV vaccine annually. The indoor cat will also need the FVRCP vaccine at a gap of one to three years. Rabies shots can be given based on state laws. 

  • Vaccine side-effects in cats

Vaccination enables cats to stay safe from infections. Because vaccines are affordable, widely available, and medically proven, you can rely on them for your feline’s health. These can protect your kitty from the debilitating impact of rabies, FeLV, and others. However, vaccines can trigger some reactions in your cat’s body. About 52 of 10,000 cats experience them due to unwanted or accelerated immune responses to the vaccine. Side effects can be mild to severe. Some cats develop reactions within a few hours, while others can encounter them after several days. Common symptoms include slight tenderness or soreness on the injected spot, low appetite, mild fever, and lethargy.

Some kitties can face localized swelling, including hair loss, lumps, or tenderness. Any of these can occur even after weeks or months. Since these are naturally self-limiting, you don't need to worry about your cat's health. But consulting a vet is necessary if something happens over and above these. Lump formation must be investigated by a vet, though. Nevertheless, an example of a severe reaction can be allergic shock or anaphylaxis. This life-threatening condition can cause facial swelling, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, itchiness, breathing trouble, and even death.

In rare cases, a cancer called feline injection-site sarcoma (FISS) can occur. Please don't worry; only one in 10k cats contracts this disease. Studies show that FISS can affect a cat even without vaccination. She is equally vulnerable to this when she goes for microchip implantation, insulin injection, etc.

  • Treatments for vaccine reactions in feline

As mentioned, most symptoms appear within a few hours of the vaccination. You can call your vet if you notice something unusually wrong. Mild symptoms usually improve with prescription pain medications, warm compress, etc. However, severe conditions may require hospital admission for medical attention. They may need steroids, epinephrine, oxygen therapy, and more. Let’s consider how to tackle a few specific symptoms efficiently.

  1. Lethargy

Has your kitty become less active after getting her vaccine? You can notice such developments after your furry friend takes primary and secondary doses. Nevertheless, observe your cat health and activity levels. Create a comfortable environment for them so that they sleep well and recover. Spend quality time with them. If you also see a decline in their food and drink intake, talk to your vet for help.

  1. Fever

Vaccines can cause mild fever due to stimulating the immune system. A slightly high body temperature can be a side effect of the vaccine. However, you must take the furry friend to the clinic if her fever lasts more than a day. In this context, one must know that vaccines cannot be administered to a cat suffering from fever. 

  1. Swollen face

Swelling in the face can be an example of an allergic reaction to the vaccine. It's an emergency. It would help to take your pet to the vet for an immediate checkup. Otherwise, the cat can suffocate due to the blocked esophagus and the airways.

Additional note

Vaccine reactions or side effects cannot be entirely avoided. However, you can take specific preventive and precautionary steps. For example, fix an appointment with the cat's vet to inform them about her health records. It will allow the doctor to schedule her vaccine accordingly. The cat should remain adequately hydrated, active, etc. Keep a stock of their food and treats so they eat something. Reduce your kitty's stress by providing medical attention and a safe, homely atmosphere. After vaccination, you must observe her for any side effects and seek timely assistance from the vet.

It is evident that indoor cats also need vaccines. Please talk to your vet to schedule her vaccination timeline.


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