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When + How to Vaccinate Your Kitten

When + How to Vaccinate Your Kitten
by Lucinda Beeman

Read time: 5 min

Kittens need vaccinations. And as a new cat parent, it’s your responsibility to make it happen. Let’s break it down. So you know exactly what to expect. And when to get them.

Why Vaccinate Your Kitten?

Vaccinations protect your kitten from a variety of serious (and potentially deadly) diseases and viruses. They work by stimulating your kitten’s immune system to recognise and fight off specific pathogens. 

In other words? Vaccines can lower the risk of some nasty illnesses.

When to Start Vaccinating

Kittens should start their vaccinations when they’re about nine weeks old. When their maternal antibodies start to wane, making them more susceptible to diseases. Kittens will generally get two vaccinations in their initial course, from about nine weeks of age. With the second course following three or four wakes later.

Essential Vaccines for Kittens

So what vaccines does your kitten need? Here’s the rundown:

  1. Feline enteritis: Which is caused by they feline parvovirus. And can be fatal. So vaccinating your kitten against it is crucial.

  2. Feline influenza, or cat flu: Which is just like a flu in humans -- meaning a sore throat, runny nose and eyes and muscle soreness. Adult cats can usually withstand it. But kittens could be at risk of serious illness.

  3. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): Recommended for kittens who will have outdoor access or live in multi-cat households. FeLV is a serious and contagious viral disease.

Rabies, bordetella and chlamydia are also available for cats in the UK. Though they're not considered core vaccines.

Booster Shots

Vaccinations aren’t a one-and-done deal. To keep your cat protected, you’ll need to stay on top of booster shots throughout their life. Here’s what you need to know:

FVRCP: After the initial kitten series, a booster is needed at one year. Following that, it’s typically given every three years.

Rabies: The first booster is given one year after the initial vaccination, then every one to three years depending on local regulations and the type of rabies vaccine used.

FeLV: For cats at risk, a booster is given one year after the initial series, then annually if the cat remains at risk.

Scheduling and Vet Visits

To keep everything on track, plan regular vet visits. Your vet will help you stick to the vaccination schedule and can provide personalised recommendations based on your kitten’s lifestyle and health.

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