More Australians have been poked with a needle than ever before in the last 12 months thanks to COVID-19 – but did you know your feline friend might need a jab or two too?!
No, not a COVID jab – thankfully most kitties are corona-free. However, there are a range of vaccinations your cat does need over their lifetime to keep them safe and protected from feline viruses, diseases and cancers.
Does my cat need vaccinations?
All cats must receive certain essential vaccinations – whether they’re a kitten or a senior, a moggy or a Maine Coon, an indoor or an outdoor dweller.
There are three essential vaccines your cat needs in Australia to be protected against common diseases:
Parvovirus is highly contagious in both dogs and cats, causing gastrointestinal, immune and nervous system complications that usually lead to panleukopenia.
Feline calicivirus is a respiratory infection causing fever, conjunctivitis, sneezing, ulcers and pneumonia.
Finally, feline herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infections and is spread by direct contact with another cat’s saliva, sneeze droplets or contaminated bedding.
Together, these three infectious diseases are the ‘core vaccines’ and are considered essential for your cat’s health and survival.
How do I know if my cat has been vaccinated?
The first thing you need to know is where your kitty came from. If you adopted your cat from a shelter or purchased them from a pet store, they’ve likely already been vaccinated as a kitten. If your cat came with any documentation, it may specify the vaccines they have already received.
If you don’t have access to the documentation or if you own a cat whose vaccination history is unknown, you should book a consultation with your veterinarian. They will be able to advise whether you should proceed with the core vaccinations regardless. It’s likely your cat will still require the core vaccinations – as the RSPCA notes that ‘core vaccines are those that all unvaccinated cats and cats with an unknown vaccination history should receive’.
When does my cat need to receive the core vaccines?
Luckily, there’s just one vaccine required to protect against parvovirus, calicivirus and herpesvirus – it’s called the F3! Your kitten will receive their first F3 vaccine at two months, their second at three months and their third and final dose at four months old.
Are there any other vaccines my cat needs?
In Australia, vets also sometimes recommend some non-essential vaccinations. Your cat may or may not need these, depending on whether they spend time out of doors or if there are specific diseases prevalent in your area.
If you have an outside cat, they will likely require an F4 or F5 vaccine instead of (not as well as) the F3 vaccine. This is because an F4 or F5 vaccine both include the F3 vaccine, but have additional protective benefits against illnesses like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV). These diseases generally affect outdoor cats.
How often does my cat need a booster shot?
We recommend cats receive boosters every 1-3 years to maintain immunity.
If your cat is in need of a vax or perhaps a round of booster shots, don’t hesitate to reach out!
At Ascot Vet, we offer the full range of cat vaccinations in Perth: