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Frequently Asked Questions -
Vaccinations - Cats

At what age should I start my kitten's shots?
How many shots does my kitten need?
How old does my kitten need to be to get a rabies shot?
What vaccinations should my cat get?
What about tumors at the injection site? Is my cat safe?

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At what age should I start my kitten's shots? 
Healthy kittens should get their distemper shot for the first time between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Kittens that will go outside at any time in their life should get their leukemia vaccination at 9 weeks of age. Kittens that are exposed to many other cats or whose mothers are young or absent should start their distemper vaccinations at 6 weeks.

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How many shots does my kitten need?
Your kitten needs feline distemper boosters every three weeks until over 14 weeks of age, feline leukemia vaccinations at 9 and 12 weeks of age, and a rabies vaccination at 12 weeks of age.

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How old does my kitten need to be to get a rabies shot?
Your kitten can get a rabies shot at 12 weeks of age or older.

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What vaccinations should my cat get?
Cats that always stay indoors only need feline distemper vaccinations, although many people choose to give them rabies vaccionations as well to minimize concern about cat bites and scratches.

Cats that will ever be outside, even on a leash, also need feline leukemia and rabies vaccinations.

Tests for feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency are important before the cat's first vaccinations.

Vaccinations against FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) are given on a case by case basis, especially for families with multiple cats that go outdoors and that are chronic fighters. The vaccination against FIV will cause your cat to test positive for the virus during a routine blood test, so placement of a microchip for identification is required.

Vaccinations against FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) are not recommended.

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What about tumors at the injection site? Is my cat safe? 
During the last decade or so, researchers have recognized that some cats, in rare cases, develop malignant tumors at an injection site. These tumors are thought to result from the inflammation caused by the vaccination. For this reason an effort has been made to remove the adjuvants from feline vaccines. The adjuvants are additives in the vaccine designed to strengthen the cat's immune response to the vaccine, but they are capable of creating inflamation at the injection site.

 

Feline distemper vaccines are free of adjuvants, and now we also use rabies and feline leukemia vaccines free of adjuvants. These new vaccines should reduce the incidence of the already rare, but very serious, problem of sarcomas at injection sites. Monitoring your cat's injection site is a good way of detecting problems early.

 

 

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