In many countries, kittens are routinely vaccinated against feline infectious enteritis (FIE), as well as feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) and feline calicivirus (FCV). FVR and FCV are the most common causes of the cat influenza syndrome. All three diseases are highly infectious, and FIE is often fatal. Cat influenza can be a severely debilitating disease, and may be fatal in some cases. The vaccines currently available are very effective against these diseases -- but remember that your cat needs annual booster injections to keep her protected throughout her life.
When the vaccination course has been completed, your vet will give you a signed certificate, providing all the details of your kitten's vaccinations. Keep this record safe so that details of her booster injections may be added each year. Kennels require an up-to-date certificate of vaccination before accepting your kitten.
Vaccinations may save your kitten's life and prevent a lot of distress and suffering. They are essential if your kitten is to be an outdoor cat. But even if you plan to keep her inside, you should give her this protection. If she is ever exposed to FVR and FCV -- inadvertently introduced to the house on clothing, for example -- she must have some resistance to infection.
Recently, a new vaccination has become available for feline leukemia virus and for feline chlamydia, which also causes respiratory disease. Ask your veterinarian about these vaccines for your kitten.
Kittens that have not been vaccinated should not be allowed outside of the house, as they will be susceptible to all sorts of diseases and types of bacteria. In the past, infectious diseases such as Feline Infectious Enteritis (panleucopenia), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) have been a significant cause of illness in cats. Vaccination against these and other diseases has effectively reduced their incidence. Recently, it is possible to vaccinate for Feline Leukemia Virus and for Feline Chlamydia, which also causes respiratory disease. Ask your veterinarian about these vaccines for your kitten.
When should my kitten be vaccinated?
Your kitten will require an initial course of vaccinations with follow-up vaccinations at various times throughout her life. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best time to vaccinate your kitten, as this will depend on the particular vaccine used. It is common to administer the first injection at nine weeks of age and a second one three weeks later, at twelve weeks. The influenza vaccine is sometimes given as intranasal drops. The immunity takes some time to develop, so your veterinarian may advise you to keep your kitten confined for a short period, usually between one and two weeks, after the second injection. Remember that vaccination against rabies is not only good practice; it is also a legal requirement if you intend to travel abroad with your kitten when she is a little older.
When the vaccination course has been completed, your veterinarian will give you a signed certificate, providing all the details of your kitten's vaccinations. Keep this record safe so that details of her injections may be added each year. If you need to board her when you are away, she will need to be fully vaccinated. Most cat boarding kennels will require an up-to-date certificate of vaccination before accepting your kitten.