Cat and Kitten Vaccinations

As a responsible cat owner, you’ll know how important it is to keep up to date with your cat’s vaccinations to prevent your furry friend from serious diseases.

What you may not have known is that vaccinations are also a condition of boarding for most reputable catteries, and completely necessary if you want to travel abroad with your cat or kitten. Cat vaccines can be divided into two different types: core and non-core. Core vaccines are recommended for all cats, and non-core vaccines are given depending on the risk to an individual cat. Discuss with your vet which vaccines are best suited for your cat.

What are core vaccinations?

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Core vaccinations are those recommended for all cats. They’re designed to keep your pet safe and free from some very serious conditions, so it’s very important you get your cat vaccinated against these conditions as soon as possible.

  • Feline Panleukopenia Virus (Feline Infectious Enteritis or Feline Parvovirus). This is a highly contagious virus and can often be fatal, particularly for young kittens. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration (even if they keep drinking), loss of appetite and, less commonly, nervous signs associated with brain damage.
  • Feline Calicivirus. This virus causes cat flu (sneezing, nasal discharge, mouth ulcers and excess salivation/dribbling). Affected cats may be reluctant to eat and have a temperature.
  • Feline Herpesvirus. This also causes cat flu, fever, sneezing and nasal discharge as well as ulcers on the eye. Chronic infection can result in nasal diseases.

You cat will only require non-core cat vaccinations if, for some reason, they are particularly at risk of infection and need extra protection. This can be if you’re thinking of breeding from your cats, for example, or if you’re planning to travel overseas with your cat or kitten.

Non-core vaccinations include Feline Leukaemia virus (FeLV) which is spread by close contact and can cause cancers, anaemia, vomiting and diarrhoea, and Rabies which is required for pets travelling abroad under the “Pet Travel Scheme”

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What vaccinations do kittens need?

Kitten vaccinations protect your tiny furry friend against the core, serious diseases. They’ll need two injections, 3-4 weeks apart, from around 8 weeks of age. Double check the exact details with your vet, as timing can vary depending on the vaccine used. After they’ve had their complete course of vaccinations it’s highly recommended that you arrange booster cat injections at regular intervals to ensure sustained immunity.

Do vaccinations guarantee protection?

Although cat and kitten vaccinations can’t completely prevent infection, if your cat’s has had overwhelming exposure to a particular virus or disease, any infection they do catch will be milder, and your cat will be less likely to spread infection to other cats.

Do vaccines offer immediate protection?

Depending on the vaccine, there may be some delay in effectiveness, so if your cat needs to stay in a cattery, or you’re considering taking your cat abroad, make sure you do your homework and find out which vaccinations are needed well in advance.

Vaccines are designed to help your cat stay happy and healthy – so it’s best to get them carried out as soon as possible. As always, if you have any concerns about your cats health, including what vaccinations they may need, make an appointment to chat things over with your vet.

For more in-depth information about cat diseases and how they affect cats, visit

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If you’d like more information on What Cat Or Kitten Vaccinations Do I Need? or have any other queries, contact our PETCARE EXPERT TEAM

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