It’s that time, and it comes every year.
Time to take your cat to your local vet for their annual check-up and vaccines.
You’ve struggled to get them into the carrier, and heard their protest cries in the car on the way ride there.
And after you bribe them out from under the counter in the vet’s exam room, it’s time to have a discussion about which vaccinations are needed this year.
Sometimes the information on vaccinations for cats can be a little confusing.
So today we’re going to help break it down for you.
What do they REALLY need?
What (if anything) can you skip?
And do outdoor and indoor cats have differing needs?
Today we’ll look at what your cat needs to stay healthy, and happy.
Vaccines For Outdoor Cats
There’s no doubt about it, outdoor cats face more risks than indoor cats.
And they’re more likely to come in contact with disease and parasites than cats who stay indoors.
When it comes to general wellness for cats there are some aspects of preventative care which outdoor cats require in order to stay safe and healthy.
Today we’ll look at the specific vaccines your outdoor cat should be getting.
1. FVRCP Vaccine For Cats
This multi-purpose vaccine protects your cat against a variety of diseases, including feline rhinotracheitis virus (FVR, aka feline herpes virus 1, FHV), feline calicivirus (FCV) and feline panleukopenia virus (FPV, aka feline distemper).
Although these diseases won’t spread to humans, within cat populations they are highly contagious and can spread rapidly.
Although it may seem that this is mostly required for outdoor cats, they are also recommended for indoor cats, as the viruses can attach to clothing and shoes and be transmitted through this “hitchhiking”.
2. Feline Leukemia Vaccine For Cats (FeLV)
Feline Leukemia is spread when a cat comes in contact with another cat who is infected, and the virus is transmitted through blood and saliva.
Although feline leukemia can’t be transmitted to humans, it can be fatal for your cat if they contract it.
All kittens should be tested and vaccinated for feline leukemia, as it is possible for them to be born with it, however after this initial stage only outdoor cats are required to continue to receive boosters.
3. Rabies Vaccine For Cats
Protecting your cat against rabies is not just important for them, but also for you.
Rabies infections can be transmitted to humans, so if your cat contracts it, you could be at risk as well.
It is also fatal to mammals who become infected.
In many jurisdictions, including Ontario, rabies vaccines are required for ALL cats (and dogs too), even if they are indoor-only.
Depending on the type of vaccine used, rabies vaccines can be effective for either one or three years.
Be sure to discuss with your vet which type your cat is getting, and stick to your vet’s prescribed schedule in regards to keeping this important shot up-to-date.
4. Anti-Parasite Treatments For Cats
Cats who are allowed outdoors are exposed regularly to parasites.
Every time they hunt and kill a rodent or bird, there is the risk of contracting fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites.
Other animals and wildlife can also carry parasites, some of which can also be contagious to people.
While some are simply annoying, such as fleas, which require some amount of work to get rid of, others, such as heartworm, can be deadly.
Regular deworming, as well as fecal testing is imperative for cats who go outside regularly.
This isn’t considered a vaccination treatment, but because it’s a unique issue which outdoor cats face, we’ve included it here anyway.
Book An Appointment At Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Do you have an outdoor cat?
Or perhaps you have an indoor cat who escaped recently and went on an adventure, and now you’re wondering what they may have picked up on their journey.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital can help.
Contact us today to book an appointment, and ensure your cat is getting the best care possible.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.