Cat Vaccinations: A Lifelong Timeline

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Non-Core Vaccines

Feline Leukemia Virus

Despite the fact that it’s a non-core vaccine, this one is highly recommended for all kittens. Feline leukemia is the primary cause of death from disease in cats. Worse yet, it can very easily spread from cat to cat through saliva and nasal excretions.

If your cat is in contact with other felines outdoors, veterinarians usually recommend that you administer this vaccine as soon as possible. If you have an indoor cat that rarely interacts with other cats, you may decide to avoid this vaccine.

Are There Risks Associated with Vaccinating Your Cat?

Nothing that you put in your body is completely risk-free. However, most experts believe that the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the risks. Short-term risks include mild discomfort, lethargy, and poor appetite. Some vaccines also increase the risk of cancer. It can be scary to introduce that risk in an effort to keep your cat healthy. Fortunately, nasal vaccines, which are applied topically instead of injected, may reduce that risk.

Cat Life Timeline for Vaccines

How often should you vaccinate your cat? Some experts believe that yearly cat vaccinations are overkill. The answer really depends on your cat’s specific age and health condition. Additionally, different types of vaccines require a different frequency for boosters.

We’ve posted feline vaccine recommendations in the past. Here’s a quick timeline to keep at your fingertips:

6-8 Weeks

  • Panleukopenia

  • Herpesvirus and Calicivirus

10-12 Weeks

  • Panleukopenia

  • Herpesvirus and Calicivirus

  • The rabies vaccination should be given between 8 and 12 weeks. The booster period depends on the type of vaccine that was given.

  • The feline leukemia vaccination should be given between 8 and 12 weeks (depending on the product).

14-16 Weeks

  • Panleukopenia (A booster should be given one year after the last shot in the kitten series and then no more than every three years after that.)

  • Herpesvirus and Calicivirus (A booster should be given one year after the last shot in the kitten series and then no more than every three years after that.)

  • Feline leukemia (A booster should be given one year after the last shot in the kitten series and then every year after that).

It’s important to note that you should speak to your veterinarian when it comes to deciding exactly which vaccinations to give your cat and when to administer them. One of the best ways to keep your cat healthy is to have an open, honest relationship with your veterinary professional. If you need more information on cat vaccinations or want additional advice on how to keep your feline healthy and happy for many years to come, then don’t hesitate to check out our online library of over 10,000 vet approved articles.


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