A Guide to Cat Vaccines

Cats are susceptible to disease just as humans are; the diseases might be different, but the prevention is the same. Talk with your vet and make sure your cat is getting each of these important vaccines.

Vaccine: Panleukopenia (FPV)

Why It’s Important: The FPV vaccine will protect your cat against feline infections enteritis, which is a leading cause of death for kittens. It is especially important for cats that live with or socialize with other cats.

When Your Cat Needs It: Get it when they’re 6 to 8 weeks old, then every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. After that, get a booster after one year and then every three years.

Vaccine: Herpesvirus (FHV) and Calicivirus (FCV)

Why It’s Important: These vaccines are often combined with the vaccine for FPV. They protect against viruses that cause respiratory infection in cats.

When Your Cat Needs It: This schedule is the same as the FPV vaccine: 6 to 8 weeks old, then every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. After that, get a booster after one year and then every three years.

Vaccine: Rabies

Why It’s Important: This is one vaccine you can’t skip; state and local laws will require your cat to be vaccinated.

When Your Cat Needs It: It depends. If your cat receives the recombinant vaccine, it should be given at 8 to 12 weeks of age, and then a booster should be administered annually. If your cat receives the killed virus vaccine, it should be given at 8 to 12 weeks with a booster at one year and then every three years. Make sure to check with your vet to see which vaccine your cat is receiving.

Vaccine: Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

Why It’s Important: Although this is not considered a “core” vaccine, it’s a good idea to think about getting it, since FeLV is the second-leading cause of death in cats (after trauma). It’s especially important if your cat spends time outdoors or with other cats.

When Your Cat Needs It: Get it when they’re 8 to 12 weeks, then again at 14 or 16 weeks. After that, get a booster annually.

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