Vaccination Guidelines: What are the Core Vaccines for Cats?

20 March 2019

Vaccination Guidelines: What are the Core Vaccines for Cats?

If you’ve recently welcomed a kitty into your home, you have probably been busy getting everything ready, like buying new cat toys, food and water bowls and a kitty litter tray. It’s a very exciting time bringing a new furry friend into your home and growing your family. Whilst preparing, you may also have been made aware that your new furry friend may require some vaccinations, to make sure they live long and happy lives without diseases. Like dogs, cats also require immunizations against common diseases which can not only be a threat to cats but also to humans. The core vaccines are essential to get for your cat, as the diseases they work to prevent pose a serious risk.

So, what vaccines does your cat need and why? We will help you through what vaccines you need in this handy guide. And of course, your veterinarian will always talk you through what vaccines your cat requires and when. These vaccines are important as they provide protection against diseases that your cat can easily become exposed to on a daily basis. As we know, cats love to explore, so their risk of exposure to these illnesses is significant. Read on to find out what the core vaccines for cats are and why we need to immunize against them.


You’ve most likely heard of this horrible disease, which you really don’t want your fur baby to catch. Rabies injections are very important for your cat. This is a very serious disease that can affect many animals and humans. Rabies is spread through the saliva of infected animals. An infected cat will need to be quarantined, and there may be high fees for your cat being kept there, as well as heavy fines for not vaccinating your cat. Rabies affects a cat’s central nervous system and replicates the cells of the muscles. Rabies can take two forms, paralytic and furious. Paralytic rabies in cats includes weakness and loss of coordination, which is then followed by being paralyzed. Furious rabies includes extreme behavioral changes and aggression, the type of actions we may more often associate with Rabies. Usually, kittens are vaccinated against rabies between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks and will then be given a booster shot a year after the initial vaccine. Following vaccinations may then occur around every two to three years to ensure your cat is fully protected from this harmful disease. This injection is required by law because of how severe this virus is.

Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia)

Feline Distemper is an unpleasant virus that attacks the lymph nodes in cats before spreading to the intestines. It comes with signs such as vomiting and dehydration. The virus enters through the cat’s nose or mouth, which is one of the reasons why this is a common virus to protect against, as curious cats tend to explore with scent and often bite things when they play. This serious virus can often be fatal, but with this vaccine, your cat will be thoroughly protected.

Feline Calicivirus

This infection causes breathing problems and diseases in cats. It is very contagious and cats with weak immune systems are more likely to contract it. Kittens and senior cats (cats over 10 years old) are also more at risk of this, so it is always worth getting this vaccination to ensure your cat is free of this infection for their whole life. This infection can be transmitted through food and water bowls that are contaminated and pets that live in close proximity to cats that have the infection are more at risk. So, you might want to get this before letting your cat out to play with the friendly feline next door!


This is one of the most common diseases in cats, which is why it is a core vaccine that is required for all cats. This infection is caused by the Herpesvirus Feline 1 (HVF-1) virus, which affects a cat's upper respiratory tract. The incubation period of the virus is 2 to 6 days and the intensity of symptoms can vary. This condition mainly affects cats with a poor immune system and can be fatal. Again, it is a serious infection but it can be easily prevented by a simple vaccination.

Prevention from feline Distemper, Calicivirus and Rhinotracheitis is typically provided in one vaccine: the FVRCP vaccine.

The FVRCP Vaccine explained

The FVRCP vaccine protects against three potentially airborne viruses. This shot will protect against FVR (Feline Rhinotracheitis), FCV (Feline Calicivirus) and FPV (Panleukopenia or Feline Distemper). This combination shot means fewer injections, which is fantastic news for your feline.

How often do I need to get my Cat Vaccinated?

Types of vaccines that your cat will need will depend on a number of factors. Again, don’t worry about knowing exactly what these are, as your vet will determine this. These factors could be your cat’s age, environment, medical history, lifestyle and whether they are more at risk of contracting certain illnesses. Remember, keeping up with vaccinations will mean that your cat will always be protected against common diseases and won’t pose a risk to any other cats too, which will be very much appreciated by other pet parents.

When do I need to start getting Vaccines for my Kitten?

Kittens should start getting vaccinations when they are 6 to 8 weeks old. Kittens require boosters every 2-4 weeks for the first 5 months. This will keep them healthy and protect them against many bad, potentially fatal infections. If your kitten will be going outdoors later in life, which we don't recommend, your vet will discuss with you what additional vaccines may be needed to best protect your kitty.

Arranging Vaccinations

You can arrange to get your cat’s vaccinations with us. Simply book an appointment and we will come to you to provide in-home care, so your cat can relax in their home whilst getting the immunizations. We will examine your fur baby and make the right vaccination plan for them.


Overall, the key vaccinations you need to be aware of are Feline Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper) and Rabies. A simple vaccination plan can keep your cat happy and healthy, doing the things they love to do the most, like playing, exploring and snuggling up with their pet parent. Your veterinarian can talk you through the right vaccinations for your cat from the comfort of your own home, all you need to do is schedule an appointment at to ensure the right care plan for you.

Category: Vaccinations

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