How Often Do Cats Need Shots?

How often do cats need shots? As much as we would like to believe that our cats have nine lives, they don’t. Cat owners need to protect their pets along with keeping them healthy and happy. The key to doing this is getting them vaccinated on time.

Not only does this strengthen their immune system, but it saves them from several diseases. Regardless of whether you have a kitten or an older cat, they must all get vaccinated to ensure a healthy life. It is best to consult your vet regarding when to get the vaccines.

Factors like your cat’s age, lifestyle, and overall health play an essential part in determining when to get them vaccinated. Your vet can better decide how long the vaccination will last and how likely your cat will come into contact with a specific disease.

How Often Do Cats Need Shots?

If you’ve recently got a pet kitten, it’s time for their first shot. They shouldn’t get vaccinated right after they’re born, as they receive antibodies by drinking their mother’s milk. However, kittens should start getting vaccinated as early as six to eight weeks old till they are around sixteen weeks old. It is because they are vulnerable to a range of illnesses given their age and immune system.

It is best to give them a booster shot a year later. The shots usually come in a series every three to four weeks when the cat is small. An adult cat, however, does not need such frequent shots. They require to be vaccinated every year or every three years, depending on their last vaccine and how long it’ll last.

As your cat gets older, factors such as age, health, lifestyle play an important part in determining how often they need a shot. It doesn’t matter if your cat stays indoors. They still need to get vaccinated to be safe. Most states have strict requirements for cats to be vaccinated against certain diseases.

Key Vaccinations

Experts suggest that there are four necessary vaccines that all cats must receive. These vaccines help protect against:


This is a mandatory shot required by all states. It protects your cat and you against severe viral infections that can transfer through a bite.

Panleukopenia (Feline distemper)

This is one of the most severe viruses that put kittens at the most risk. This causes fever, vomiting and in worst-case scenarios, it can lead to sudden death.

Feline calicivirus

This virus spreads through the sharing of food bowls and litter trays, along with the inhalation of sneeze droplets. It is known to be one of the most significant causes of upper respiratory infections.

Feline viral rhinotracheitis

Feline viral rhinotracheitis is common in cats. It is an upper respiratory or pulmonary infection of cats. Initial signs of FVR include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, and sometimes fever (up to 106), and loss of appetite.

Flea Shots

Fleas are very common and contagious. They can quickly transfer from one pet to another. They might infest your pet without knowledge. Be preventative or get your pet the shot.

The feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (Feline distemper) vaccinations come in a combination shot (FVRCP), which is known as the distemper shot.

Extra shots might be needed for your cat depending upon how much time your cat spends outside, other cats that it plays with, and the common diseases in your area. These shots include:

Feline leukemia: This disease has no cure, so cat owners need to take utmost care of their pets. Therefore, prevention is critical. This severe viral infection spreads mainly through fluids such as urine, milk, saliva, and feces. In case of future vaccination, the cat’s lifestyle should be considered.

Bordetella: This disease spreads when there are lots of animals in one place. Cats who go for a haircut or to parks are more likely to catch this infection. This vaccine will not prevent the disease. Instead, it will keep your kitten from getting sick it.

If you think your cat is safe from diseases just because they stay indoors, you are mistaken. There are higher chances of catching diseases through open windows and doors. Sometimes, cats end up making a run for the outside, so you have to make sure they’re vaccinated before this happens.

If you already have a cat at home and bring another one to the family, there are higher chances of your first cat getting viruses or bacteria from this new addition. It is important to remember that all these vaccines will not offer a hundred percent immunity from diseases and bacteria. However, they will keep your pet safe and healthy, given that you keep them away from infected animals and environments where conditions are expected.

Side Effects of Cat Shots

All vaccines have some side effects that your cat is bound to experience. While the benefits exceed the risks involved, every cat owner should be aware of some common ones.

As your cats get vaccinated, they will soon start showing symptoms of tiredness, fever, or loss of appetite. These are normal if they go away in less than a week. If the symptoms exceed a week, then it is best to take them to your vet immediately.

Our Final Thoughts

Now that you know the type of shots and how often cats need shots, you will be more likely to take preventative measures to keep your cat as healthy as possible.

About The Author