Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Why Should I Get My Indoor Cat Vaccinated?

At Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic, we understand that it might seem unnecessary to vaccinate your indoor cat. However, even if your cat spends most of their time inside, it is important to get them vaccinated. Our vets in Grants Pass have shared some important reasons why you should vaccinate your indoor cat.

Vaccinations for Cats

Various diseases specifically affect cats and are prevalent in the US every year. To ensure your kitten is safe from contracting any preventable diseases, it's crucial to get them vaccinated. It's equally important to follow up your kitten's first vaccinations with regular booster shots throughout their life, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor cats. 

Booster shots are given to reinforce your cat's protection against various feline diseases once the effect of the initial vaccine wears off. Booster shots for different vaccines are administered on specific schedules, and your veterinarian will advise you when to bring your cat back for booster shots.

Reasons to Have Your Indoor Cat Vaccinated

It's important to note that indoor cats may also require vaccinations as per the law of many states. For instance, cats above 6 months of age must receive a rabies vaccination in most states. Once your cat has been vaccinated, your veterinarian will present you with a certificate that verifies your cat's vaccination status by the law.

There are 2 types of vaccinations available for cats, 'core vaccines and 'lifestyle vaccines.'

Our vets highly recommend that all cats receive core vaccinations to keep them safe from highly contagious diseases they could be exposed to if they do escape the safety of your home, go to a groomer, or have to stay at a boarding facility while you are out of town.

Core Vaccines for Cats

All cats should be given core vaccinations because they are essential for protecting them against the following common but serious feline conditions:

  • Rabies - rabies kills many mammals (including humans) every year. These vaccinations are required by law for cats in most states.
  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP) - Typically known as the "distemper" shot, this combination vaccine protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.
  • Feline herpesvirus type I (FHV, FHV-1) - This highly contagious, ubiquitous virus is one major cause of upper respiratory infections. Spread through the sharing of litter trays or food bowls, inhalation of sneeze droplets, or direct contact. The virus can infect cats for life. Some will continue to shed the virus, and persistent FHV infection can lead to eye problems.

Lifestyle (Non-Core) Vaccines for Cats

Some cats require non-core vaccinations, depending on their lifestyle. Your vet can suggest which vaccines are necessary to protect your feline friend.

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (Felv) - These vaccines protect against viral infections transmitted via close contact. They are only usually recommended for cats that spend time outdoors.
  • Bordetella - This bacteria causes upper respiratory infections that are highly contagious. Your vet may recommend this vaccine if you take your cat to a groomer or boarding kennel.
  • Chlamydophila felis - Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that causes severe conjunctivitis. The vaccination for the infection is often included in the distemper combination vaccine.

Giving Your Kitten Their Shots

Your kitten should get their first round of vaccinations when they are approximately six to eight weeks of age. After this, your furry friend should receive a series of shots at three to four-week intervals until they are about 16 weeks old.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule

First visit (6 to 8 weeks)

  • Vaccinations for chlamydia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis and panleukopenia
  • Fecal exam for parasites
  • Blood test for feline leukemia
  • Review nutrition and grooming

Second visit (12 weeks)

  • First feline leukemia vaccine
  • Second vaccinations for calicivirus rhinotracheitis, and panleukopenia
  • Examination and external check for parasites

Third visit (follow veterinarian's advice)

  • Second feline leukemia vaccine
  • Rabies vaccine

Booster Shots

Depending on the type of vaccine, adult cats should be given booster shots either once a year or once every three years. Your veterinarian will let you know when you should take your adult cat back for their booster shots.

Vaccine Protection

Your cat won't be fully vaccinated until it has received all of its vaccinations, typically when they are between 12 to 16 weeks of age. Once all initial vaccinations have been administered, your furry friend will be safeguarded against the diseases and conditions the vaccines cover.

If you want to let your kitten outside before they have been fully vaccinated against all of the diseases listed above, we recommend keeping them restricted to low-risk areas such as your own backyard.

Possible Side Effects From Cat Vaccines

Most cats don't experience any side effects after getting their shots. If your four-legged friend does react, they are generally minor and short in duration. However, in rare situations, more serious reactions do arise, including:

  • Redness or swelling around the injection site
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hives
  • Lameness
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe lethargy

If you suspect your cat is experiencing side effects from a vaccine, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can help determine if your cat needs special care or follow-up appointments.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time for your indoor kitty to get their shots? Contact our vets in Grants Pass today to determine which vaccines we recommend for your feline companion.

Specialty Vets at Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic

Welcoming Current Clients

Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic welcomes current clients to book an appointment! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Grants Pass companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

Contact Us

(541) 476-7769 Contact