Feline Vaccinations

Cats are a species with the appearance of keeping and maintaining good health. Their health stabilities and ability to mask health issues often contribute to pet parents avoiding or ignoring vaccination and regular health checkups.  The story I will tell you illustrates why we cannot be complacent or indifferent to vaccinations.  To take the risk of illness leading to death is not worth not vaccinating.  I share this story to pitch the point that it is necessary, should not be avoided to immunize cats, especially kittens.  

I highly recommended a four-way vaccine rather than a three-way vaccine.  It’s not wise to presume it’s okay to avoid one of the respiratory illnesses excluded by using 3-way opposed to vaccinating with the 4-way.  Kezkatz Our kittens are immunized at 7-8 weeks with a 4-way vaccine, 4 weeks later a 2nd 4-way vaccination with leukemia vaccination is administered.   The kittens leave for their new home after the second vaccination when they are 12 weeks old.  For their new home, we recommend follow-up immunization at 15-16 weeks the 2nd immunization against leukemia and rabies vaccination.   A table showing age and recommended vaccines is provided below. 

Cat & Kitten Vaccination Schedule

6-8 weeksdistemper, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia
10-12 weeks2nd vac of distemper, rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, chlamydia
10-12 weeks1st Feline Leukemia
12-16 weeksRabies
14-16 weeks2nd Feline Leukemia
1 yearRabies, Core vaccines, Feline Leukemia

For decades, our pre-adoption policy is to provide two sets of vaccines with two health checks.  My blogging is to share what I’ve learned from my decade plus care, support, fostering, rescuing cats, dogs and other animals.  The idea is to support healthcare for pets, and animals by sharing those experiences.  The skills, expertise and knowledge of veterinarians are above all the primary health care for pets and other animal life.  

The fall of 2021 a reminder of the importance of vaccination arrived at my door ending in great anguish. This beautiful kitten of about 8 to 12 weeks belonging to a neighbor decided that he likes my home and me better than the other family.  Whenever I took him home, he came back, often times beating me back to my home. Animals are going to choose their human, and he chose me for some reason.

In part because his home kept him outdoors, did not provide the necessary constant attention that he desired.  Someone had given them this kitten. A kitten born and raised indoors.   Some cats love the combination of indoor-outdoor houses, some love the outside with care, some love the inside only.  He liked it better inside with people.  He didn’t like the outside. This was why he kept coming to my home. My household has a large outdoor wire/screen enclosed porch (Catio).  This catio porch offers inside security with outside noise and visual enjoyment in the open air for experiencing breezy winds.  That’s exactly what this cuddly bear wanted.  

I had other cats, therefore he required quarantined and isolated from others. I messed up waiting for his pet parents to do the right thing provide the home he desired. This delay cost his life. As I did not follow my own policy to vaccinate, worm and schedule a veterinarian health check.  Owned by a neighbor, I disregarded this policy. If I had immunized as usual and scheduled a veterinary appointment, he would be alive today.  The poor baby cat was infected with calicivirus and possibly panleukopenia.  I tried to save him, I spent a lot of money giving him fluids and medication. Our veterinarian provided hospitalization for him.  The damage caused by calicivirus to his respiratory tract and throat was exacerbated by panleukopenia depleting his red blood cells making it too much for survival.    Body of animals infected with panleukopenia or Parvo must be incinerated.

This task is one of the worst experiences of my life, burning him into no existence, as though his life didn’t matter.   My motto is that life is a value to be respected to fullest, irrespective of who or what possess’s the life.  Don’t make the mistake not to immunize.    If the first day this kitten came I would have vaccinated and wormed him most likely he be alive today. Why I failed to follow my normal procedure regarding him is a painful thought.