The secret formula for your cat to live a much longer, energetic, and healthier life lies in cat vaccines. As cats do not possess the so-called nine lives, so we ought to do everything in our hands to protect them from fatal diseases. Vaccinations are said to stop the incubation of such bacteria and viruses that can become lethal for your cat in the near future. Isn't rooting out the cause of disease before it sprouts much better than treating it afterwards?
However, as simple as all this may sound, the whole process isn't, at least not for first-timers. That is why in this article, we will enlighten you with the vaccine's types, benefits, schedule, price, risks. In short, everything one needs to know about cat vaccinations. So, without further ado, let's get started:
Cat Vaccination Schedule — Since When do Vaccinations Start?
The rule of thumb is to start administering the vaccination once your kitten becomes 2-months old. Each shot must be given with a gap of 20-25 days. This initial vaccination must be continued until the kitten has grown to 4 or 5 months old. In the meantime, booster shots are also provided to the kitten to retain the mother's milk's immunity.
Once your cat passes the kitten age, probably after a year, and enters adulthood, the required time of vaccination also reduces to once 1-3 years, depending on the type of vaccine and how long it is made to last.
However, if you just bought an adult cat with an unknown medical history, it is wise to get it vaccinated. The procedure is simple. Set two appointments, 3-4 weeks apart, with your vet for cat vaccination, and your adult cat is good to go.
Different Types of Cat Vaccines and Diseases They Protect From?
Vaccines make sure to protect our feline friends from life-risking disease, but how do they do it? By exposing their bodies to pathogens that have been altered in such a way that they offer no harm but only make the body ready to handle future encounters with the same pathogens easily.
Usually, cat vaccination is divided into two categories: Core and Non-Core vaccines. Although core vaccines are essential for your cat's longevity as they prevent common and severe disease, whereas non-core vaccines are optional. Depending on your cat's temperament, behaviour, and lifestyle, you may opt to get a non-core vaccine.
Vaccines That Come Under Core Category:
A vaccine against rabies is a highly recommended one that is also required by the law as it is a contagious disease. A single bite from a cat or a dog having rabies renders the nervous system useless, giving a severe blow to human health. These bacteria are found in cat's saliva, and that is why the law has made rabies vaccine a must for every cat owner.
Whereas outdoor cats are more susceptible to developing rabies due to environmental differences, indoor cats are also not left behind when it comes to vaccination because of the threat the disease poses.
The de facto is that when a kitten is three months old, the rabies vaccine is first administered. Then after every year or three, it is again given to cats.
2-FCV or Feline Calicivirus
Feline Calicivirus (FCV) is a small-time virus that ultimately pose a much bigger threat. FCV is a common cause of flu-like symptoms and severe respiratory diseases among cats. Although, humans are not affected by this disease.
It is being said that even if a cat suffering from Calicivirus is recovered, it may keep discharging FCV bacteria in the house. Thus, increasing the danger of spreading the virus to your other pets. That is why the FCV vaccine protects your cat and other animals from the risk of getting Calicivirus.
The vaccination is supposed to be started from an early age of around two months and is continued annually or once after every three years.
3-FP or Feline Panleukopenia
Often regarded as feline parvo or feline distemper, FP is a deadly disease that constantly destroys cells in the intestine, fetus, and bone marrow. It causes high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, decreased white blood cells and red blood cells, etc.
Feline Panleukopenia is more common in kittens, either outdoor or indoor. That is why from a young age of two months, the FP vaccine is started, followed by a single booster shot after 3-4 weeks have passed. Moreover, a booster shot is also given to cats once after each one to three years.
4-FVR or Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
The virus caused by FVR is known as the herpes virus. The symptoms of this virus are pretty familiar with FCV. A runny nose, sneezing, loss of appetite, mucous in eyes, drooling, dehydration are a few symptoms experienced by a cat suffering from Rhinotracheitis.
To fight against this fatal disease, a vaccine is first administered at the age of two months. After every month, a booster shot is given until the kitten reaches the age of four to five months. But for an adult cat, a booster shot is needed only once or twice a year or a two.
Vaccines That Come Under Non-Core Category:
1-FeLV or Feline Leukemia Virus
Common symptoms seen in cats affected by the leukemia virus are fur entanglement, digestive disorder, fever, a decrease in appetite, etc. With each passing time, the disease strengthens its clutches and thoroughly weakens the cat's body. Thus, increasing the risk of other lethal diseases like cancer.
The virus is transferred through mutual contact with other infected cats. Either it may be through shared bowls, communal litter boxes, or from a bite of another cat.
An outdoor cat is at a greater risk of contracting FeLV than an indoor cat, but it doesn't mean that an indoor cat should not be vaccinated. The simple rule is to provide two shots of FeLV vaccines with a gap of four weeks and a booster shot after a yearly visit.
Chlamydophila causes eye disorder and upper respiratory disease in cats. Outdoor cats are more susceptible to catch Chlamydophila because of their lifestyle.
Kittens of age two months, while a cat of age more than four months should get a Chlamydophila vaccine dose.
Except for causing respiratory problems among cats, this disease can also cause kennel cough among dogs. It is being studied that cats suffering from a low immunity system may have a greater chance of contracting Bordetella than others. So, healthy cats are an exception to catching this disease.
It is a contagious disease that quickly spread among animals. So, if your cat is an outdoor one or has a habit of mingling, playing with its peers, then you should get your cat vaccinated.
However, if a cat becomes a victim of Bordetella Bronchiseptica, then an intranasal vaccine is administered.
Cat Vaccination Schedule
Frequently asked questions about cat vaccination
How Much Cat Vaccination Cost?
I wish there were a simple answer to this question. Basically, vaccination cost depends upon many factors. Like your:
Geographical location: I.e., in which part of the world you are living. Prices vary from country to country.
Vet Clinic: What type of clinic you are taking your cat to. Whether is it a private one or government? It can also be some non-profit organization, which are usually low-cost or even free.
How much do cat vaccines cost in Malaysia?
Considering all the above factors, the annual cost of the cat vaccine in Malaysia is around RM 40- 80. This price includes three vaccinations of rabies, FVRCP, and FeLV, each administered with a gap of 20-21 days. After the initial trial, a booster shot is given to the cat annually. In contrast, Malaysia's typical vet check-up cost is RM 15- RM 60/visit.
What are the Side Effects Associated with Cat Vaccines?
As such, there are no extreme side effects associated with vaccine shots. However, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite are a few common ones that can be seen in a cat after it gets vaccinated.
These symptoms only last for 1-2 days, and if your cat is still experiencing these symptoms after the due time, then you should immediately contact your vet.
Moreover, these symptoms mainly depend on your cat's energy level. For instance, two days ago, I got my kitten vaccinated. Yes, she was a bit lazy that day, but the very next morning, she was the same playful, mischievous lily. There were no signs of lethargy, fever, or loss of appetite.
An adult cat is more likely to experience these symptoms than a kitten because of the difference in their energy levels.
Is There Any Risk of Getting Your Cat Vaccinated?
As vaccines prepare your cat's body to thwart bacteria and viruses, a little bit of soreness and swelling can be observed at the injection position. Although it's very rare but sometimes vaccines can also cause autoimmune diseases and tumors at the vaccination spot.
However, this depends more on the cat's health and genetic history than vaccination. Undoubtedly, vaccines' benefits are far more significant than any of their side effects or risks.
So, if you want your cat to have nine lives in one go, then don't wait anymore and schedule an appointment with your vet.