Vaccinating Your Cat

At Mont Albert Vet we recommend that all cats have an annual vet visit which includes a thorough general health check and vaccination. Kittens need a series of vaccinations and health checks between 6-8 weeks and 16 weeks.

What vaccinations does my kitten need?

Kittens need a series of vaccinations to protect them from common diseases during their first few months. Your kitten should be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks, again at 12 weeks and once more at 16 weeks.

The vaccines protect kittens against feline enteritis and cat flu.

Ideally, kittens should also have the vaccine for FIV (Feline Immunodeficieny Virus, or feline AIDS).

In some cases, the vaccine for FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) is also advisable.

Visits for these regular vaccinations also allow us to check the health of your kitten during the early stages of growth and address any questions or problems you may have.

Annual vaccinations will then be required as your kitten grows into adulthood.

What vaccinations does my adult cat need?

We recommend an annual F3 vaccine for your adult cat, which covers feline enteritis and cat flu (feline upper respiratory disease). Some cats also require additional vaccines for FIV (Feline Immunodeficieny Virus, or feline AIDS) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus). Some boarding catteries may require these additional vaccines before your cat will be accepted for boarding.

Following vaccination your cat may be off-colour for a day or two, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, please call us on 9890 1728 for advice.

What diseases do the vaccines cover?

Feline enteritis

Feline enteritis is very contagious and the death rate is high, especially under 12 months of age. Pregnant cats may lose their young or give birth to kittens with abnormalities, quite often with brain damage. Symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea (often with blood) and severe abdominal pain.

The virus spreads so easily that heavily contaminated areas may need cleaning with a special disinfectant. Cats that do recover may continue to carry the virus for some time and infect other cats.

Feline respiratory disease (Cat flu)

Cat flu is usually caused by feline herpesvirus (feline rhinotracheitis) or feline calicivirus.

Cat flu affects cats of all ages, especially young kittens, Siamese and Burmese cats. It is highly contagious and causes sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers.

Fortunately, the death rate is low, except in young kittens, but the disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks. Recovered cats can continue to carry and spread the infection for long periods and can show signs of the disease again if they become stressed.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

FIV or feline AIDS is a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and affects the immune system of cats. Their natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously affected, much in the same way as human AIDS.

This disease is not transmissible to humans.

FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats. The virus that causes the disease is present in saliva.

While some infected cats show no sign of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, other symptoms may occur such as weight loss, sores in and around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and chronic infections.

Eventually, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and diseases and the cat may die from one of these subsequent infections. Unfortunately, in Australia, a lot of cats are infected with this virus.

Feline leukaemia (FeLV)

Feline Leukaemia is a serious disease of cats caused by feline leukaemia virus.

The virus attacks the immune system and may be associated with lack of appetite, weight loss and apathy, pale or yellow mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhoea, reproductive problems, increased susceptibility to other infections, leukaemia and tumours. Many cats may be infected and show no signs at all.

About one third of infected cats remain chronically infected and may shed virus in their saliva, tears, nasal secretions and urine. The disease is then spread to uninfected cats by mutual grooming, fighting, sneezing or even by flea bites.

Please give us a call on 9890 1728 to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your kitten or cat.