It’s no secret that people require vaccinations to protect their bodies from preventable diseases, but what about indoor cats? Pet owners with outdoor cats are more likely to vaccinate their animals, but many people don’t realize that indoor cats are also vulnerable to diseases that could affect their well-being.
Keeping your cat safe and happy is your responsibility as a pet owner, and that includes adhering to a vaccination schedule. If you are hesitant to vaccinate your pet, below are some reasons exactly why vaccinating your indoor cat is so important.
About Cat Vaccines
Vaccines are products that trigger the body’s immune system to provide natural protection against specific infections and diseases. Each day, your pet encounters countless bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, some of which can cause irreversible health consequences.
The antigens in cat vaccines mimic disease-causing microbes in your cat’s body without making your pet sick. Anytime your pet encounters organisms associated with the vaccines they receive, their immune system will know how to fight the microbes entirely or reduce the illness’s severity.
Indoor and outdoor cats need vaccinations to protect them from disease-causing organisms. They can be exposed to bacteria and viruses at any time, whether they sneak outdoors or share a litter box with a new cat. By scheduling a series of vaccinations, you will significantly reduce your cat’s risk of getting a preventable disease.
Some of the most commonly recommended cat vaccines include:
- Feline Calicivirus (FCV): A virus that causes oral disease and respiratory problems in cats like congestion, conjunctivitis, and sneezing symptoms
- Feline Herpesvirus Type 1 (FHV-1): A highly contagious virus that causes fever, reduced appetite, sneezing, and conjunctivitis in cats
- Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper): An intestinal virus that also attacks lymph nodes and bone marrow with symptoms of fever, severe diarrhea, and dehydration
- Rabies: A deadly viral infection more prevalent in cats than dogs that affects the brain and spinal cord
Core vs. Non-Core Vaccines
Vaccines for pets fall into one of two categories:
- Core Vaccines: Core vaccines are essential for indoor and outdoor cats. They protect the animals against common and severe diseases and others that can affect humans. Core vaccines are often required for your pet by state law or local regulations.
- Non-Core Vaccines: Non-core vaccines are optional for cats and may be recommended based on your pet’s lifestyle.
5 Reasons To Vaccinate Your Indoor Cat
1. Legal Obligation
Most states have laws about vaccinating cats for rabies, which should be administered before your pet reaches six months old. Even if your state does not require a rabies vaccination for your pet, you may be obligated by local regulations. After your cat receives their shots, the veterinarian will give you a certification to prove the vaccination.
2. Reduces Pet Medical Expenses
Vaccinating your indoor cat will help preserve their health and comfort, but it also offers financial protection for you. The cost of preventative healthcare is much lower than the cost of treatment for any disease your cat may contract.
3. Cat Could Get Outdoors
Even if you intend for your cat to be 100% indoors, they could accidentally get outside at any time. Cats are quick and naturally curious. They can easily slip out of an open door to explore new surroundings.
You might not realize your pet is no longer in the house right away, leaving them plenty of time to encounter stray cats and other animals. You can ensure that your pet won’t pick up harmful diseases if they escape outdoors by having them vaccinated.
4. Lifestyle Changes
You may get your pet as an adult or kitten, but the circumstances surrounding their arrival can change without notice. For example, if you adopt a second pet suddenly, they could introduce an unknown disease into your home. If your first cat isn’t already vaccinated, they are put at risk.
Traveling with your pet can also be a problem if you don’t vaccinate them, especially against rabies. Many airlines, hotels, and pet boarding facilities require proof of vaccinations before accepting pets.
5. Prevent Disease Flare-Ups
It’s not unusual for cats to be exposed to feline herpes virus when they’re young. It could occur in utero if their mother is infected, or they can contract it in a shelter or through shared litter boxes and feeding bowls.
Getting a vaccination against the disease doesn’t eliminate it. Instead, it keeps it under control. If your cat has feline herpes virus and doesn’t receive shots on schedule, they could experience a flare-up that produces respiratory infections and eye problems.
Getting Your Pet Vaccinated as a Kitten
Your pet will require several rounds of vaccines for optimal protection. Ideally, you should start their treatment while your pet is young because they are more prone to acquiring deadly infections as a kitten.
Put your cat on the path to life-long immunity by taking them to the vet between six and eight weeks old. A typical vaccine schedule for cats includes several shots in three- to four-week intervals for FHV-1, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Your kitten won’t be fully vaccinated until they reach about 16 weeks old with this schedule.
Importance of Booster Shots for Adult Indoor Cats
Your vet may begin vaccinating your cat against rabies between eight and 12 months old. Your kitten will need another round of the same vaccine a year later. When your cat reaches adulthood, your veterinarian may suggest booster shots every year or every three years to ensure that the animal’s immunity stays high.
The vet will determine your cat’s booster shot schedule by reviewing your cat’s:
- Health status
- Disease exposure
Turn To Penny Paws Animal Clinic for Cat Vaccinations
Many loving cat owners ask themselves whether they should vaccinate their indoor cats. The benefits and protections that vaccinations provide you and your feline friend far exceed the risks of keeping them vaccine-free.
The first step to getting your cat the care it needs is to find a caring animal hospital with skilled veterinarians. When it’s time to schedule your pet’s vaccinations, turn to the team at Penny Paws Animal Clinic. Our staff consists of knowledgeable animal lovers who will ensure your cat receives the vaccinations they need and keep you informed along the way. Call today or book an appointment online to schedule a visit with us and get your cat on the right track to immunity!