Vaccinations are important in order to keep your cat healthy, If you’ve recently adopted a new cat, it’s vital that you ensure they’re properly vaccinated. If you’re not sure whether your cat has previously received any jabs, here are some steps to take in order to protect your cat.
Finding out their vaccination record
If you’ve just adopted a kitten, their breeder or previous owners should let you know what vaccinations they’ve had. However, if you’ve rescued or adopted an adult cat with an unknown medical history, it may be harder to determine what vaccinations they’ve had, especially if there’s no vaccination record to be found.
Records from the shelter
If your cat came from a shelter, they may have some documentation outlining what vaccines they’ve received. You may find the rescue centre has also given your new cat a full health check and up-to-date vaccinations. If so, they should provide you with a vaccination record and details of when your cat should receive their booster shots.
Finding out through medical testing
If you’re still unsure about your cat’s medical history, your vet will be able to advise you about the best ways to keep your cat protected. They may advise a new course of vaccinations or might suggest that you get your new cat titre tested, which will measure how many antibodies your cat has, indicating whether they’ve been vaccinated in the past or not.
Why it’s better to double up
Adult cats can receive their first vaccines at any age, so, even if your cat hasn’t been vaccinated before, your vet should be able to administer them. If you’re in doubt about your cat’s medical history, it’s usually better to double up their jabs rather than leave them unprotected. Leaving them unvaccinated runs the risk of serious illness, disease or, even, death. Vaccinating your cat will also protect other cats in the area from potentially catching any infections.
Keeping their vaccinations up to date
After your cat has received their recommended vaccinations, it’s important to keep their protection up to date. Cats need regular booster vaccinations, usually administered every year and should start a year after your cat has received their final set of vaccinations. If you don’t already have a vaccination record card, your vet will provide you with one, which should contain:
• The date the vaccination was administered
• The name of the vet
• The brand of vaccine, including batch number and expiry date
• Where the vaccination was administered
They’ll also let you know when your cat should return for their booster injections.
Making a plan with their vet
Your vet will work with you to plan the best vaccination programme for your cat,which will be tailored based on your cat’s lifestyle and environment. Vaccinations are classed as core or non-core, with core being the minimum required to give your cat adequate protection. All cats, regardless of their age, need to have their core vaccines. There is one vaccine, called the F3, that combines the three core vaccines and will protect your cat against:
• Feline parvovirus – causing gastrointestinal, immune and nervous system complications
• Feline calicivirus – a respiratory infection
• Feline herpesvirus – causing upper respiratory infections
Here in Australia, vets may suggest your cat also gets non-core vaccines depending on your cat’s location and whether they’re an indoor or outdoor cat. Your outdoor cat may require an F4 or F5 vaccine instead of the F3. An F4 or F5 includes the F3 vaccine, and in addition protects against diseases that are particularly prevalent among outdoor cats, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV). Vaccinations are an essential way of keeping your feline companion happy and healthy for as long as possible. Even if you’re unable to find out much about your adopted cat’s history, you can still make sure they’re safe and protected going forward. To learn more about how to take the best care of your cat across all aspects of their life visit our blog page.
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