Vaccinations for Kittens and Cats

Vaccines trigger protective immune responses in pets and prepare them to fight exposure to infections from disease-causing agents. Vaccines can lessen the severity of diseases or prevent infection altogether. Pets should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases. Even though some formerly common diseases have now become uncommon, vaccination is still highly recommended because these dangerous disease agents continue to be present in the environment. In the city of Toronto, it is required by law that all dogs and cats be regularly vaccinated against rabies.

If you’ve welcomed a new kitten into your family, it is important to fully vaccinate your kitten to help provide immunity against diseases and infectious organisms. For their first few weeks of life they have some protective immunity they received from their mother, but as they age, the immunity needs to be boosted. Vaccines are given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.

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Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated?

Yes! Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, it can still be susceptible to some diseases that we can bring inside to them. They may come into contact with another animal when sitting in the open window or while on a balcony. There is always the possibility that your cat may escape to the outdoors. Bats are known carriers of rabies and can quickly fly into homes or onto balconies so even an indoor cat could be exposed to them.

What is FVRCP and core vaccine for cats?

FVRCP and rabies are considered core vaccines for cats. FVR – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, C – Calicivirus and P – Panleukopenia, are administered in one combination vaccine once every three years. Rabies is given once a year. For outdoor cats, the Leukemia vaccine is also recommended.

How often does my cat need vaccination?

FVR- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, C- Calicivirus and P- Panleukopenia, are administered in one combination vaccine once every three years. Rabies is given once a year, as well as the Leukemia vaccine.

Kittens need three sets of vaccines in their first year then yearly administration of the rabies vaccine and three-year administration of FVRCP.

When do kittens get their first shots?

Kittens should receive their first FVRCP vaccine at 8-weeks-old. This vaccine should be boosted every four weeks until 16 weeks of age. At 16 weeks, they will also receive their Rabies vaccine.

Are there any risk associated with vaccines?

Vaccine reactions are very rare. If there is a concern or if this is the first time your cat is being vaccinated, we recommend vaccinating earlier in the day so that if your cat has a reaction the clinic is still open to help. Sometimes a veterinarian may pre-treat before vaccinating to minimize a reaction. A small painless lump could also appear at the injection site which will disappear in a week or two.

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