Does my INDOOR cat need vaccinations?
Updated: Apr 6
"Cats know how to obtain food without labor, shelter without confinement, and love without penalties."
-Walter Lionel George
Simple answer to the question about vaccinations is:
YES. They need it.
Just like when we were children and we got all these vaccinations to prevent diseases when we become adults. Also, think of it as medicine for when you get sick.
There are diseases that are very deadly to cats, and without vaccination, they become more susceptible to them.
Now, you ask: well, my cat never goes outside or interacts with other cats, so why do I need to vaccinate them??
Simple answer: WE (humans) go outside and interact with other people or animals...then, we bring whatever sticks to our clothes back home.
One other thing that we, as humans, are susceptible to: RABIES. It's not just a health hazard to your cats; since rabies is classified as a "zoonotic disease", that means it can be transferred to humans, WE are in danger as well. It might be an accidental scratch, or playtime gone wrong and you get accidentally bit. It IS lethal to humans..so it's very important to get your kitties vaccinated for rabies.
Though kitties don't usually carry rabies, they CAN get infected quite easily. Standard incubation period for rabies is about 2 months. There are signs and symptoms to look out for, such as: aggression (usually when your kitty is very calm, you'd notice right away if they become hostile toward you, others, or other pets), disorientation (they look like they might be confused or walking funny), and last, their health will rapidly decrease (won't eat, won't drink, won't use the litter box).
Now, there are what they call "core" vaccines and "non-core" vaccines.
Core vaccines are vaccines that are you MUST give your kitties. The core vaccines are:
Rabies vaccine - comes in the 1 year or 3 year shot
You must first get the 1 year shot, if your cat doesn't react badly to it, you can inquire with your vet about getting the 3 year one. Sure, it may cost a bit more, but it's worth it.
FVRCP vaccine - this is a combination of THREE vaccines (instead of your vet giving your kitty three shots, they would just give them the one. It protects against:
Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus/Herpesvirus 1 (FVR/FHV-1)
Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
Feline Panleukopenia (FPV)
Non-core vaccines are vaccines that mostly depend on your kitty's lifestyle:
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) - click on link to read what it is
Chlamydophila felis - click on link to read what it is
Bortadella bronchiseptica - clink on link to read what it is
Now...if you got a kitty that roams around outside, where they can encounter MANY different things, you definitely need to get them vaccinated. Here is an article on what types of vaccines they might need:
However, there are certain circumstances that might prevent you from getting your kitty vaccinated. Mostly, it's due to age. When they reach a certain age, giving them a vaccine might do them more harm than good. You can also skip vaccinating if your kitty already has an underlying condition, usually, your vet will recommend you not get them.
Vaccines for cats sort of react the same way as when we get them. When we get our annual flu shot, usually, we're a bit sore...sometimes, we feel lethargic, or we can even get a bit sick. It is the same way with your kitties. At first, they'll act a bit tired...it's normal. Let them rest for a day or two, and your vet will tell you to closely monitor them. Make sure they eat a little something or drink a bit of water. Like humans, they need sustenance. After a few days, you'll find that they'll be back to normal.
Hopefully, this answered your questions as to why you SHOULD and why it's IMPORTANT to vaccinate your kitties.
If you're worried about cost, usually, the core vaccines wouldn't cost any more than $80. It all depends on your vet clinic. There are a lot of affordable clinics in the Houston area that will only set you back about $45-55. It is A LOT cheaper than all the future medical vet bills that may come your way if you don't vaccinate your kitty.
Well, folks, I hope you learned something today!
As always, be kind to each other, be kind to animals, love your pets!