Vaccinations are an essential way to keep your kitten healthy and protect them from common diseases. However, it’s important to keep your cat safe prior to completing their vaccinations, which includes making sure they get the correct amount of socialising and stimulation without putting them at risk.
When is your kitten first able to be vaccinated?
In Australia, core vaccines are recommended for all cats. These ensure protection against common diseases, such as feline respiratory disease, feline calicivirus and feline enteritis. Because your kitten’s immune system is still developing, it’s important to start their vaccinations when they are quite young: around the age of 6-8 weeks – with another set at 10-12 weeks and a final round at 14-16 weeks.
When is it safe to expose your kitten to risks?
Kittens have temporary protection against diseases thanks to antibodies from their mother’s milk. However, these antibodies won’t last forever so it’s important not to expose your kitten to unnecessary risks until they are fully vaccinated. Your kitten can be allowed outside ten days after they’ve completed their final set of vaccinations. Waiting this amount of time reduces the likelihood of your kitten contracting diseases such as feline enteritis or cat flu.
Ways to keep your kitten protected
Until your kitten has received all their vaccinations, it’s important to make sure they only socialise with fully-vaccinated cats. To reduce the potential spread of infections, wash your hands when you come back home – especially if you’ve been in contact with other cats. What if you’re planning to raise your kitten as a house cat? It’s still recommended to ensure your cat is, at a minimum, vaccinated against cat flu and feline enteritis – since these are highly infectious and can be spread to your cat through contaminated surfaces, clothes and shoes.
Take your kitten outside safely
A fenced off area or an outdoor space is a great place to let your kitten get some fresh air and stretch their legs until they are fully vaccinated. We recommend supervising them when you first take them outdoors until about the age of six months and when they’re able to find their own way back to your home. It’s important to only let your kitten outside after they have received their final set of vaccinations.
Socialising your kitten safely
Once you have your kitten home and you’re looking to socialise them safely prior to their vaccinations, you can introduce your kitten to humans or other friendly pets, as well as fully-vaccinated cats. It is a good idea to make sure anyone handling your kitten has washed their hands, to reduce the spread of infection. Around 15 minutes a day of gentle handling can go a long way to helping your kitten get used to being held and played with, as well as increasing the likelihood they will be comfortable with other people later in life. Looking after a kitten prior to their vaccinations requires care and planning – but there’s so much to enjoy about this early stage in your cat’s life. You can find more information about vaccinations and caring for your kitten on the blog page.
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