Vaccinating your kitten and adult cat is vital to prevent harmful and life-threatening diseases.
Kittens have antibodies from their mother’s milk in their system for the first 10-12 weeks of age, giving them vital protection from bugs. After these disappear, your kitten will have to make its own antibodies in response to disease.
Sometimes this defence is not enough and the disease can be fatal or cause lifelong infection, such as with Feline Parvovirus (also called infectious enteritis or panleukopenia virus – FPV) and Cat Flu (Herpes and Calicivirus). We vaccinate cats against these potentially fatal and widespread diseases with “core” vaccines which every cat should have at least every 3 years regardless of their lifestyle.
Feline Leukaemia virus (FeLV) is a non-core vaccine but advised for all outdoor cats. Also potentially fatal, it damages the immune system and is easily spread by mutual grooming or cat bites.
Cat Vaccinations at Pilgrims Veterinary Practice
In recent years there has been increasing concern over the disadvantages of vaccination. Adverse reactions, though rare, can occur and must be reported through the government’s regulatory authority, while injection site sarcomas or tissue cancers have been increasingly diagnosed and reported, thought to be caused by the carrier molecules (adjuvant) in the vaccines.
At Pilgrims Vets in the New Forest, we use a non-adjuvanted vaccine brand (Purevax), as advised by the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association), which drastically reduces the chance of injection reactions. It also has the longest duration of immunity for the core diseases out of all vaccine brands, which means that after your kitten has had its primary course and 1 year booster, if in an indoor-only low risk environment, we will only need to repeat booster vaccines every 3 years. If going into a cattery or meeting other cats outdoors, an annual cat booster vaccine is still recommended given the risk/benefit involved.
Recommended kitten vaccines:
The exact recommended vaccine schedule will vary according to the individual, however most kittens will fit with the following:
- 1st Vaccine at 8 weeks
- 2nd Vaccine at 12 weeks
(in high risk situations such as multi-cat households or breeding colonies, a 3rd vaccine at 16 weeks is advised)
- 1st Annual Booster at 1 year
Subsequent boosters are usually annually, but may vary according to lifestyle. Our friendly and experienced team can help you decide which timetable of vaccinations will be suited to your cat.
All-round preventative care for your cat
As well as annual vaccinations, your cat’s preventative healthcare routine should include all-year-round parasite protection, microchipping and regular health checks with a vet. You can get all of this when you sign up for our Cat Wellness Plan – find out more.