According to the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) all kittens should receive a vaccination that protects against feline rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia and Rabies; these are referred to as the “core” vaccines. Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP) are diseases that are ubiquitous in nature and are frequently found in the general cat population. Protection against all three of these viruses is generally provided as a multivalent vaccine.
Rabies is the other core kitten/cat vaccination. Rabies is a fatal disease that can affect not only cats but also many other animals, including humans. The recent rabies outbreak in Southern Ontario demonstrates how important it is for all pets to have a current Rabies vaccine. Legally, your municipality also requires that all cats and dogs be vaccinated against Rabies. Click here to read Dr. White’s blog on the subject.
While all cats should receive these core vaccines, outdoor cats are also at risk of contracting Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FeLV is transmitted via a bite wound from an infected cat. FIV is transmitted through saliva and even can be contracted through casual contact with an infected cat. Fortunately, proper vaccination can protect your kitty from these potentially fatal diseases.
All vaccines should be “boostered” 12 months following the final vaccine in the kitten series, following which the frequency with which the vaccines need to be repeated varies and can be discussed with your veterinarian during your visit.