When Do Cats Need Shots?

As a devoted cat parent, keeping your feline friend healthy is a top priority.

You provide them with nutritious food, cozy beds, and endless cuddles. However, there’s one crucial aspect of cat care that often goes overlooked: vaccinations.

When should you get your kitty vaccinated and why are these shots so important for their well-being? The simple answer is that cats need vaccinations throughout their lives to protect them from various diseases and illnesses.

Kittens require a series of shots starting at approximately eight weeks old, while adult cats should receive regular booster shots to maintain their immunity. But the details can vary depending on factors such as age, lifestyle, and overall health.

Why is it vital to ensure your cat is up-to-date on their vaccinations? For starters, some of the illnesses that cats can contract are not only harmful to them but also contagious to other felines and even humans.

By vaccinating your pet, you can prevent the spread of these diseases and keep both your furry friend and family safe from harm. Additionally, investing in preventative care now can save you money and heartache down the road if your cat were to fall ill with a disease that could have been prevented.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of cat vaccinations in greater detail. We’ll discuss the essential shots that your pet requires, when they should receive them, and what happens during a veterinary visit.

So if you want to ensure your kitty remains happy and healthy for years to come – read on.

What are Vaccinations?

Vaccinations are crucial for your cat’s preventative healthcare routine as they protect them from a range of illnesses and diseases that can be life-threatening.

So, what exactly are vaccinations? When your cat is vaccinated, the vaccine stimulates their immune system to produce a protective response against specific pathogens or disease-causing organisms.

This process prepares your cat’s body to fight off the actual disease if they are exposed to it in the future. The recommended vaccination schedule for cats includes core vaccines that protect against common and potentially fatal diseases such as feline panleukopenia virus, feline viral rhinotracheitis, and feline calicivirus.

These vaccines are highly contagious and can be fatal, making it essential for all cats to receive them. Additionally, there are non-core vaccines available for cats who may be at higher risk for certain diseases due to their lifestyle or location.

When Do Cats Need Shots-2

It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your cat based on their individual needs and risk factors. Kittens usually receive their first round of vaccinations around 6-8 weeks of age, followed by boosters every few weeks until they are around 16 weeks old.

Adult cats who have not previously received vaccinations will also need to start with the initial series. It’s essential to keep in mind that the frequency of vaccinations for adult cats may vary depending on their individual risk factors and lifestyle.

For example, an indoor cat may not need as many vaccinations as a cat who spends time outdoors or comes into contact with other animals regularly. While vaccines do not provide 100% protection against all diseases, they greatly reduce the likelihood of a cat contracting a disease and can also lessen the severity of symptoms if they do become infected.

So, vaccinations are essential for keeping your cat healthy and protected against preventable illnesses.

When Should Kittens Get Vaccinated?

Vaccinations are like a protective shield for your furry companion, guarding them against life-threatening illnesses that can strike at any moment.

This is why it’s essential to start vaccinating kittens at around six to eight weeks of age and follow a specific vaccination schedule recommended by your veterinarian. The first round of vaccinations typically includes the FVRCP vaccine, which protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.

This vaccine is given every three to four weeks until the kitten is about 16 weeks old. Additionally, non-core vaccines are available for cats who may be at higher risk due to their lifestyle or location.

Your vet will be able to recommend which vaccines your kitten needs based on their age, health status, and risk factors. It’s important to note that some vaccines require multiple doses or booster shots to provide full protection.

Your veterinarian will advise you on the best vaccination schedule for your kitten. Regular check-ups with your vet are also crucial to monitor your kitten’s health and ensure they are growing and developing correctly.

By doing so, you’re not only protecting your furry friend but also contributing to the greater good of the feline community.

What Core Vaccines Do Cats Need?

One of the most effective ways to safeguard your cat’s health is through vaccinations.

However, it’s essential to understand which vaccines are considered core and why they are necessary. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recommends four core vaccines for all cats.

These vaccines protect against highly contagious and dangerous diseases that can cause severe illness and even death in unvaccinated cats. The first vaccine is the Feline Panleukopenia (Distemper) Vaccine.

This vaccine protects against a virus that attacks your cat’s bone marrow and intestines, leading to severe illness and death. The second vaccine is the Feline Herpesvirus-1 Vaccine.

The virus causes upper respiratory infections in cats, which can be fatal, especially in kittens. The third core vaccine is the Feline Calicivirus Vaccine.

This vaccine protects against a virus that causes respiratory and oral disease in cats, including ulcers in the mouth and pneumonia. Lastly, the Rabies Vaccine is a legal requirement in many areas and is essential for preventing the spread of this deadly disease to humans.

Rabies is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal and can be fatal if left untreated. It’s important to note that while these vaccines are considered core, some cats may not require them due to individual circumstances such as age or health status.

For example, kittens typically receive a series of vaccinations starting at around 6-8 weeks of age, with boosters given every 3-4 weeks until they are around 16 weeks old. Adult cats may only require boosters every 1-3 years depending on their lifestyle and risk factors for exposure to disease.

Non-Core Vaccines for Cats

While you likely know about the core vaccines recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, you might not have heard about non-core vaccines for cats.

Non-core vaccines are not essential for all cats, but they may be recommended based on your cat’s lifestyle, age, and other individual factors. These vaccines are typically given to cats who have a higher risk of exposure to certain diseases or infections.

One non-core vaccine that your veterinarian may suggest is the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine. FeLV is a viral infection that can cause severe health issues in cats, such as anemia and cancer.

Cats can contract FeLV through close contact with infected cats, such as sharing food and water bowls or grooming each other. Another non-core vaccine that might be recommended is the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccine.

FIV is another viral infection that affects cats’ immune systems. It spreads through bites from infected cats, primarily during fights.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that affects the lining of the abdomen and chest in cats. It can be challenging to diagnose and treat, and it is often fatal.

If your cat is at risk of exposure to FIP, your vet may suggest the FIP vaccine. Lastly, your veterinarian may recommend the chlamydia vaccine, which protects against a bacterial infection that affects cats’ eyes and respiratory systems.

Chlamydia can be transmitted through close contact with infected cats or contaminated surfaces. If your cat is at risk of exposure to any of these diseases, your vet may suggest non-core vaccines to help protect them.

It’s crucial to discuss with your vet which vaccines are necessary for your cat based on their lifestyle, age, and overall health status. Remember, vaccinations are vital for your cat’s well-being and happiness.

Tailoring the Frequency of Vaccination for Adult Cats

Luckily, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has developed guidelines to help tailor vaccination schedules specifically for adult cats.

According to the AAFP guidelines, adult cats should receive booster vaccinations for certain diseases every three years instead of annually. This is because recent studies have shown that the immunity provided by these vaccines lasts for at least three years.

But don’t worry, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccines your cat needs and how often they should be administered. They can also help you tailor your cat’s vaccination schedule based on factors such as their age, lifestyle, and environment.

For instance, indoor cats generally have a lower risk of contracting diseases than outdoor cats and may require fewer vaccinations. It’s essential to consider potential side effects of vaccinations as well.

Some cats may experience mild side effects such as lethargy or fever after receiving a vaccine. If your cat has had a reaction to a vaccine in the past, your veterinarian may recommend a different vaccination schedule or even avoid certain vaccines altogether.

Consulting with a Veterinarian for Your Cat’s Needs

And when it comes to keeping your kitty’s immune system strong and healthy, there’s no substitute for regular vaccinations.

But with so many different vaccines available and varying recommendations on how often they should be administered, it can be difficult to know what your cat actually needs. This is where consulting with a veterinarian becomes invaluable.

Your vet is an expert in feline health and can provide you with personalized advice on your cat’s vaccination needs. They will take into account your cat’s age, lifestyle, and overall health to determine which vaccines are necessary and how often they should be given.

For kittens, getting vaccinated is especially important. They require a series of shots starting at around 6-8 weeks of age to protect them against diseases like feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.

Rabies vaccination is also required by law in many states. Adult cats also need regular booster shots to maintain their immunity against these diseases.

The frequency of booster shots may vary depending on the vaccine used and the cat’s lifestyle. Outdoor cats may require more frequent vaccinations than indoor cats due to their increased exposure to potential disease sources.

But here’s what you may not know: not all cats require the same vaccinations. Your vet may recommend additional vaccines if your cat is exposed to other cats or travels outside of the country.

Also Read: Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccines?


In conclusion, vaccinations are an essential part of responsible cat ownership.

They act as a shield against deadly diseases that can spread rapidly and put other felines and humans at risk. Starting from six to eight weeks old, kittens need a series of shots, while adult cats require booster shots to maintain their immunity.

The core vaccines are crucial in safeguarding your furry friend against common and fatal illnesses such as feline panleukopenia virus, feline viral rhinotracheitis, and feline calicivirus. Non-core vaccines may also be recommended based on your cat’s lifestyle or location.

It is always best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your cat based on their individual needs and risk factors. Regular check-ups with your vet are equally important in monitoring your cat’s health and ensuring they are growing and developing correctly.

By adhering to the recommended vaccination protocols, you can provide your kitty with the best possible protection against severe and potentially life-threatening diseases.