Vaccines are a weakened or killed version of bacteria or virus that is injected into a pet's immune system to stimulate the creation of antibodies that block against disease. Kittens have a natural immunity from their mother's milk but this immunity wears off over time and so the puppies and kittens need vaccinations to bolster the immune system and prevent illness.
To protect your pet from contagious diseases, keep the essential vaccinations up-to-date. This is important even if your pet is kept mostly indoors. Many contagious diseases are airborne and your pet could easily be exposed through an open window. There is also always a risk that your pet could accidentally slip out the door. Boarding kennels, dog parks and grooming salons are all areas where your pet is likely to be exposed to contagious diseases so be sure to consult with your veterinarian before taking your pet to any of these places. It is also important to keep in mind that vaccinations take a few days to a few weeks to become effective.
The vaccinations recommended vary from state to state.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP). Commonly called the “distemper” shot , this combination vaccine protects against three diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (sometimes called “feline distemper”).
Rabies. Rabies virus is fatal and all mammals, including humans, are susceptible to infection. Rabies vaccinations for cats are required by law in most states.
Our veterinarian may also recommend other vaccines for your cat depending on where you live and your cat’s lifestyle:
Feline Leukemia (Felv). Felv is a viral infection that is only transmitted through close contact, and this vaccine is generally only recommended for cats that go outdoors.
In kittens, timing is most important when vaccinating. If they are lactating and the mother has been vaccinated, then the kittens are protected by the mother’s antibodies. Once the kittens start eating solid food, they no longer have the protection. Therefore, a series of vaccines is started in order to build the kittens immune system.