FAQ's: Cat Vaccinations

Understanding Cat Vaccination Needs and Requirements

In our efforts to provide a high standard of cat veterinary care in Chicago, we often hear questions from pet owners about vaccinations. Here are some of the basic answers to those questions:

What is a vaccine? A vaccine is a “fake” or inert version of the virus we wish to protect against. It contains markers that alert the immune system to the presence of a dangerous invader. This causes the immune system to produce antibodies against the disease.

Does my cat really need to be vaccinated? Every cat needs need protection against killer diseases. Kittens are born without significant immunity except for temporary protection received through their mother. Additionally, most areas have rabies laws requiring pet owners to vaccinate their animals against this fatal disease.

What is a core cat vaccination? Core cat vaccinations are those shots that protect your pet against certain common diseases known to be potentially deadly. We always administer these vaccinations as an essential aspect of cat veterinary care in Chicago. A core cat vaccination routine includes immunization against rabies, panleukopenia, feline calici virus and rhinotracheitis. (The last three are dealt with through a single combined vaccine often referred to as PCR or FVRCP.)

What about non-core vaccinations? There are occasions when we may recommend additional vaccinations on top of the core cat vaccination regimen. This is particularly true if your cat spends significant time outdoors or in boarding facilities. A typical non-core cat vaccinations we may administer to your cat includes those for feline leukemia virus. We can advise you on which non-core vaccinations, if any, make sense for your feline’s lifestyle.

How early do I need to schedule vaccinations? We urge cat owners to schedule core vaccinations as soon as their pets have been weaned, generally around the age of six weeks. This enables us to protect your animal against killer diseases as soon as the immunity he received from his mother has faded. Several shots will be needed during his first year of life to establish and reinforce strong immunity.

Why do I have to update my cat’s vaccinations? That first set of core cat vaccinations will not last forever. Vaccines lose their protective ability over time, so booster shots are needed to keep your cat protected against disease. The first booster shots generally occur at the one-year mark, with additional rounds to be scheduled per our veterinarian’s recommendations.

Are there any risks associated with vaccinations? While most vaccines are considered quite safe for the vast majority of pets, some animals might experience a physical reaction to specific vaccines. Symptoms of a reaction may include vomiting, diarrhea, sluggishness, fever, lack of interest in food or lameness. These symptoms, when they occur, tend to pass quickly and without incident. If your cat exhibits extreme or continuing symptoms, contact our office for instructions.

Cat Vaccination Scheduling at Chicago Cat Clinic

Contact Chicago Cat Clinic for more information about cat vaccinations. We will be happy to arrange vaccinations for your beloved pet.

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