Whether they’re an indoor or outdoor cat, cats require vaccinations to help protect them against serious diseases and to live a healthy and happy life.
From birth, a cat’s immunity builds up from the intake of their mother’s milk, which contains the antibodies required to fight infections. These antibodies only last a few weeks and as they get older this immunity decreases.
Without the additional support that preventative treatments like vaccinations, provide, a kitten is exposed to serious and life-threatening infections.
How do cat vaccinations work?
Cat vaccinations work by injecting a small amount of a modified form of the virus or bacteria into the pet. This then stimulates the body’s immune system to react to the antigen which has already learnt how to respond against the disease and can protect the cat against the infection.
While an initial course of cat vaccinations provides fantastic preventative care against serious diseases, the body needs reminding how to defend itself against a particular illness in the future. After the initial course of primary vaccinations, a booster vaccination has a significant role in updating the body’s immune response, helping to ensure that the immune response is strong enough if a cat comes in contact with an infection.
It’s also important to keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date, as a pet’s insurance provider may require proof of preventative treatments to help ensure the validity of your policy so that you can make a claim in the event of treatment being required.
What do Cat Vaccinations Protect Against?
Feline Infectious Enteritis.
Also known as feline parvovirus, feline contagious enteritis is a highly infectious disease which attacks the cat’s bone marrow and can increase the risk of other diseases. ‘Parvo’ is caught from cats coming into contact with an infected pet’s bodily fluids, faeces and fleas. This infection can also contaminate items such as food bowls, bedding, floors, shoes, clothing and hands. Potential signs of infection include severe dehydration and bloody diarrhoea, although some cats show vague signs of illness in the early stages of the disease.
Feline Leukaemia Virus.
Known as FeLV, the feline leukaemia virus attacks a cat’s white blood cells and bone marrow. Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) remains one of the most important infectious diseases of cats. Pets who have it are prone to anaemia, cancers and developing infections as it affects their immune system. Signs of feline leukaemia are very varied but can include weight loss, a low appetite, intestinal problems, fever, recurrent diarrhoea and anaemia.
FeLV is usually spread via cats saliva from grooming each other; sharing food bowls, litter trays, and is most commonly passed on between cats in close contact. Young cats are particularly at risk of getting the virus and it progressing, although cats of any age can be affected.
Cat flu is made up of two different viruses, feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. Signs include fever, nasal discharge, sneezing and ulcers to the mouth or eyes. In some cases, the condition develops into pneumonia. Droplets of the cat flu infection can survive in the environment for long periods of time via shared food bowls, litter trays and bedding. It is not uncommon for cat flu to rapidly spread to an unvaccinated litter.
Just like dogs, cats can also go on holiday with you and require vaccinating against rabies under the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS). This disease is more prevalent overseas, but not present in the UK. It affects a cat’s nervous system if they’re bitten by an infected animal. Unfortunately, rabies is a fatal disease, and a contaminated cat is at risk of passing it on to other animals and humans.
Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccinations?
Indoor cats may seem at a lower risk of getting sick because they can stay inside in the safety of your home. However, some infections like cat flu, which is airborne, can be transmitted and humans can bring bacteria in on their clothes, hands and shoes. In most cases, it’s crucial to keep our pet’s vaccinations up-to-date, so their immune system can protect them in the event of being exposed to the disease.
What vaccinations do kittens need?
From the age of nine weeks, kittens require a course of two vaccinations. Kittens are administered an initial set of vaccinations, which are followed up with a second set around three weeks later. Immunity takes a while to develop; therefore we would recommend you don’t let your kitten outside until at least a week after the second vaccination.
How long do cat vaccinations last?
As a general rule, cat vaccinations last one year. Cat’s require an annual course of booster vaccinations to help ‘update’ their response system to remember how to fight against serious infections and to maintain their immunity.
Where can I get my Cat Vaccinated?
Prevention is better than cure, which is why all our Animal Trust clinics provide cat boosters, which includes FeLV and also preventative treatments against worms at no extra cost.
At Animal Trust, we’re continually striving to make veterinary treatment more affordable and accessible for all pets in the north-west – we even have visits from pet owners outside the local areas.
If your cat requires a primary or booster course of vaccinations, book an appointment with your local Animal Trust clinic for a free consultation. You can rest assured knowing it won’t cost you a penny to visit the vet and discuss your pet’s health. Our experienced team will help and advise on the best possible preventative treatments available; we only charge for the medication or surgery prescribed.
Whether you have visited one of our Animal Trust clinics previously or are a new patient, we are here to help all pet owners; everyone is welcome. For new patients, register your pet online, we have veterinary clinics in Bolton, Blackburn, Manchester, Leeds, Dewsbury, Shrewsbury, Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead and Wrexham. Find your surgery here.