Cat getting a vaccine at the vet.

Vaccinating Your Cat

Five core vaccines should be administered to all cats. These include vaccines against panleukopenia (parvovirus), herpesvirus (viral rhinotracheitis), calicivirus, feline leukemia (FeLV), and rabies.

Other vaccines, including those for the feline immunodeficiency virus (feline AIDS), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), ringworm, Chlamydophila, and Bordetella are optional, and should be administered only on veterinary recommendation.

The school of thought regarding canine and feline immunizations has changed. Many veterinary practitioners and veterinary schools are using extended vaccination schedules in lieu of the traditional “yearly booster” approach. These changes in traditional protocol are based on research findings indicating that:

  • Certain vaccines may provide extended immunity and, in some cases, lifelong immunity after an initial series of immunizations.
  • Vaccines administered after this immunity has been established may be neutralized and rendered ineffective by the pet’s immune system.
  • Repeated immunization using certain vaccine agents, especially those that contain adjuvants (chemical compounds designed to increase the effectiveness of the vaccine), has been linked to allergic reactions, autoimmune disease, and feline sarcoma, a deadly form of cancer in cats.