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Cat vaccinations – everything you need to know

Making sure your cat’s in tip top health is of the utmost importance, so here’s what you need to know about vaccinating your favourite pet.

James Martin Content Writer
minute read

When do I need to vaccinate my cat?

Your kitten needs to be vaccinated against harmful diseases at nine weeks old; they will need a second set of vaccinations at 12 weeks. Your cat may need an annual booster, but will be protected against:

• Feline infectious enteritis

• Feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus (cat flu)

• Feline chlamydophilosis

• Feline leukaemia



What vaccinations does my cat need?

Just like people, vaccines vary according to need. For example, house cats that rarely go out may not need certain vaccines, while multiple moggy households might mean cats need greater protection. The most common diseases vaccinated against in the UK are:

Feline infectious enteritis Also known as feline distemper, this spreads through infected urine, faeces, blood or fleas and can be fatal, particularly in kittens. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and a high fever.

Feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus These two viruses cause what’s commonly known as cat flu. Symptoms are similar to human flu and include sneezing, a runny nose, conjunctivitis and a sore and inflamed throat. Its seriousness varies from mild to fatal and while the vaccine doesn’t guarantee your cat won’t get flu, it goes a long way to lowering the severity of it.

Feline chlamydophilosis This predominantly causes conjunctivitis in cats. The vaccine won’t always prevent it, but it does reduce the seriousness of symptoms.

Feline leukaemia Typically spreads through close or direct contact with an infected cat. Look out for weight loss, loss of appetite, recurrent illnesses, inflamed gums and diarrhoea. The disease can be fatal, and cats that do survive usually end up with lowered immune systems putting them at risk of other illnesses.

Will vaccines hurt my cat?

Pet vaccines are rigorously tested, but as with any vaccine there may be side effects in the first 24 hours. You should look out for any changes in behaviour and contact your vet if you’re concerned.

In very rare instances, a minority of cats develop what’s known as a sarcoma at the injection site - a build-up of soft tissue that can develop into a tumour. This is unusual but any lumps that don’t go away after a few days should be checked out.

Will vaccines hurt my cat?

Will my pet insurance cover the cost?

In most cases, your pet insurance won’t cover routine pet care, such as vaccinations. But because costs can vary among vets, it’s always worth looking around if you’re on a budget.

If you’re on a low income or receiving certain benefits, you may be eligible to subsidised vet treatment that could help with the cost of having your cat vaccinated. Check here for details of your local RSPCA to see if you’re entitled to low-cost vet care through the charity.
The PDSA supports sick or injured animals if their owners are on means-tested benefits. You can check here to see if you’re eligible for PDSA vet services.

Having pet insurance does mean you’re covered for lots of other eventualities, so start a quote today to find suitable cover for you and your furry friend, at a price that’s right for you.

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