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What Vaccinations Does Your Kitty Need, and When?

Have you recently welcomed (or are planning to welcome) a new furry friend into your family? There are lots of things to consider, prepare and be aware of when you’re caring for a cuddly kitty - and kitty vaccinations are a very important healthcare consideration.

Why Do I Need To Vaccinate My Kitty?

All vaccinations are there to help protect your pet from becoming ill or suffering with potentially severe infectious diseases. If you want a happy, healthy kitty, who is safe from dangerous kitty diseases - and who can’t pass anything nasty to other cats, it’s important to follow veterinary advice and have your cats vaccinated.

It’s common for all cats to be vaccinated regularly against common diseases such as cat flu and feline leukaemia. Though kittens may start their vaccinations from 8-12 weeks, and have boosters after a year, all cats, even once adult, should have an annual vaccine check and booster vaccines throughout their lives.

When Are Kittens Old Enough to be Vaccinated?

If you've just welcomed home a brand new kitten, it’s important to register them with your vet straight away and start to consider their first kitty vaccinations. Kittens are old enough to have their first vaccinations at around 8 weeks. This is the best time to ensure your kitten is protected - so don’t delay in ensuring your kitten sees the vet!

At this time, your vet should run through a list of considerations to be aware of, known as the ‘primary course’ to keep your kitten healthy. This will include their first vaccine injections, a second round of vaccines three weeks later, and ensure you are aware of all kitty health considerations such as neutering, worm and flea protection, and tips for happy kitty diets and behaviour.

How many vaccinations will my kitten need?

Typically kittens will receive two sets of starter vaccinations, one at around 9 weeks old and another at three months to boost their immunity.

After this, all cats should have a round of booster vaccinations every year of their life.

Does My Adult Cat Need Any Vaccinations?

That has already had their initial injections, it’s still important to take them for an appointment every 12 months to maintain their vaccine protection. Not all vaccinations will need to be given at every appointment. Different vaccinations will protect your kitty for different lengths of time, and lifestyle and overall health may also impact how frequently your kitty needs booster protection against certain diseases.

If however, you’re unsure if your cat had their primary course of vaccinations as a kitten - or if they have not had any vaccinations within 12 months, be sure to visit the vet as soon as possible. The vet will be able to advise on the best course of action, and may need to begin the primary course again.

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What Vaccinations Do Cats Need?

New kittens who are just having their first vaccinations will need protection against distemper, rabies and upper respiratory infections. If you expect your pet to have any exposure to the outside (or if you expect they will come into contact with outdoor cats) it is also important to vaccinate against Feline Leukaemia (FeLV). This is an untreatable and very serious disease for cats which weakens the immune system and leaves cats more prone to developing certain cancers.

Outside of this, cats are commonly vaccinated against cat flu (feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus), and Feline infectious enteritis.

Your vet will be able to give advice on which vaccinations are right for your cat or kitten, when they will need to have their vaccinations and boosters, and should provide you with a vaccination record or certificate.

Keep in mind that if you plan to travel with your cat, certain other vaccinations may be required, or may need to be updated - and if you are flying with your cat, a recent vaccination record (within a few days of travel) will be required. Again, your vet can advise on what vaccines are needed and when.

How Can I Make the Process Easier for my Kitty?

Not many cats enjoy travelling to the vet! However, there are ways to make the process of travelling and visiting the vet easier, to keep your cat calm and reduce any kitty stress.

Key tips include:

  • Familiarising your cat with their carrier, including positive reinforcement. For example, let your pet explore the carrier in their own time, away from travel situations. Place treats inside, and gradually familiarise them. It helps to make the carrier a comfy place, so place blankets inside to comfort and calm your cat.
  • Familiarising your cat with car or public transport travel (once they are calm in their carrier!). The sounds, sights and movement associated with travelling in the car or on other transport can make it unfamiliar and scary for your kitty. Work to introduce your pet to travel slowly, to reassure them.
  • Handling training. Is your kitty happy to be petted, picked up or handled? As the vet will need to do this, make sure your cat is used to regular contact and touch.

Using FELIWAY CLASSIC Spray inside your car or cat’s carrier ahead of travel can help to calm and support your pet, and reduce the stress of travel and vet visits. Combined with a FELIWAY CLASSIC Diffuser, plugged in, in the area where your cat spends most of their time, you can support a calm happy kitty environment everywhere that your cat goes.

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