Recommended Vaccinations For Cats

Many researchers, veterinarians and other experts are beginning to disagree on how often to vaccinate cats and which vaccines to administer. Some experts have determined that cats are sometimes over-vaccinated.

However, most experts agree that vaccinations should begin at a young age and should be kept up to date throughout the life of the cat. However, cat owners should take into account the risks associated with vaccines. Although they are rare, reactions to vaccines can occur and cats can sometimes develop vaccine associated sarcoma.

Certain core vaccines are recommended for almost all cats. A core vaccine is a vaccine for a disease that is either very common or very dangerous. Non-core vaccines are also available from veterinarians and may be recommended for some cats, though not all cats will need them. Non-core vaccines are generally recommended for cats that live in certain areas that put them at risk for less common diseases or cats that roam outside frequently and come into contact with a great deal of other cats and animals.

The most commonly recommended cat vaccines include:

  • calicivirus
  • feline leukemia
  • panleukopenia (distemper)
  • rabies
  • rhinotracheitis.

Other common vaccines that are recommended for certain cats include:

  • chlamydia
  • feline immunodeficiency virus, also known as FIV (this vaccine’s effectiveness is not yet known)
  • feline infectious peritonitis, also known as FIP.

While vaccine schedules will vary depending on the age, habits, health and other environmental factors that affect a cat, this is a sample cat vaccination schedule:

Disease Age for First Vaccine Age for Second Vaccine Age for Third Vaccine Revaccination Interval

Calicivirus 7 weeks 10 weeks 13 weeks Yearly

Feline Leukemia 10 weeks 13 weeks N/A Yearly

Panleukopenia 7 weeks 10 weeks 13 weeks Yearly

Rabies 12 weeks N/A N/A Yearly

Rhinotracheitis 7 weeks 10 weeks 13 weeks Yearly

Chlamydia 7 weeks 10 weeks 13 weeks Yearly

FIV 7-8 weeks N/A N/A Yearly

FIP 16 weeks 19 weeks N/A Yearly

Some of these vaccines may also be available as combination vaccines, meaning that one injection could be given that would protect against multiple diseases.

Keeping your cat up-to-date on all of these vaccinations will help him maintain optimum health and live a long and healthy life. Keeping up with vaccines can also help cat owners save money that, if not properly vaccinated, could be spent on expensive treatments for these diseases down the line.

Check with your veterinarian regarding any regulations your state or area has on cat vaccinations. Your vet can also tell you if there are other vaccines your cat may need based on his risk factors. Some cats may need fewer vaccinations if they live indoors and are not allowed to roam outside, as their exposure to diseases will be slim or non-existent.