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What Vaccinations Does a Cat Need?

Learn what vaccinations a cat needs from board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. E'Lise Christensen, DVM in this Howcast video.


If you're a cat owner or bringing a new cat into your home, you probably have lots of questions about the vaccinations your cat should have. It's important to realize that vaccinations vary depending on location and based on your cat's exposure to the environment and other cats. So, the number one partner in this is your veterinarian. Some people can be a little nervous that their veterinarian might recommend vaccinations that their cat doesn't need but if you have an honest conversation with them many veterinarians are very interested in working with you to make sure that your cat is not over vaccinated. Our goal is to have happy, healthy cats that live as long as possible.

If you're thinking about taking your cat in to the veterinarian they are definitely going to recommend that you get a rabies vaccine. That's because it has to happy legally. It's also just really important because if your cat happens to be bitten, or to bite someone else, the procedures that happen if your cat doesn't have current vaccine history for rabies can be strikingly different from a cat who's current on that vaccine. So, if you're going to get one vaccine, make sure that you have the rabies vaccine. Another vaccine that people find relatively difficult to decide on is the feline leukemia vaccine, sometimes called feleuk.

This vaccine is often not needed for many indoor cats. However, if your cat is going to be indoors and outdoors, or if you plan to bring different cats into your environment (such as if you foster cats, or share cats with other people, or have cats come in just in the neighborhood) you're going to want to talk to your veterinarian about whether than vaccine is right for your cat. Another common vaccine is the so-called distemper vaccine. This vaccine contains multiple agents that protect your cat from infectious diseases.

It's really important to talk to your veterinarian about whether this vaccine is right for your cat, but most vets will say it's a good thing to do at least for the first few years of life and they may alternate whether they give it every year or not but that's going to depend on a conversation with you. That's some great information about vaccines.

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