Northeast Animal Hospital
1401 4th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
How soon should my kitten be vaccinated?
Answer: After about six weeks, kittens need us to help develop their immunities.

Why does my cat need vaccines?

Think about an army that prepares to fight a battle. The soldiers are presented with many exercises that train them how to react to an enemy force. The exercises don’t include real enemies, but “imitation” ones. This is done so that when real enemies attack, the army has a much greater chance at defeating them because it has had many practice sessions.

Similarly, vaccines cause the body to prepare for possible future attacks from disease-causing agents. Vaccines contain imitation invaders—antigens that look like organisms that cause disease but actually aren’t. These trigger the body’s immune system to react to the “enemy” agents, and thereby trains it how to respond when a real threat invades the body.

Northeast Animal Hospital can help prepare your cat’s body to fight common (and not-so-common) diseases that are contagious and deadly. And we can do even more: A Cat Wellness Exam can help us care for the total health of your pet. Please come in, or call us, to learn more.

What should I know about cat vaccinations?

  • Vaccines have been saving lives for over 200 years, and new vaccines are always in development.
  • The risk of side effects from a vaccination is far less than the risk posed by the disease itself.
  • Possible reactions to a vaccine include swelling and/or redness around the injection site, malaise, loss of appetite, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or lameness.
  • If your cat has a history of reactions to vaccination, you may wait at least 30 minutes in the hospital’s reception area after treatment, in case any immediate reaction occurs.
  • If you think your cat is having an adverse reaction to a vaccine, please call your veterinarian right away.

What vaccinations will you provide my cat?

  • Feline Distemper and Respiratory Disease
  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV; if needed)
  • Rabies

Our core vaccinations for felines include those against distemper (panleukopenia), respiratory disease (rhinotracheitis and calicivirus), and rabies. Core vaccinations (except rabies, described below) can be administered once every three years after the initial kitten and one year boosters, or more frequently depending on the likelihood of exposure to these conditions. Cat owners should consult with their veterinarian to determine the best schedule for vaccinations.

Rabies vaccination of cats is required in the state of Florida. Cats should be vaccinated for rabies annually after the initial treatment, or as recommended. The veterinarian will provide the cat owner, and the local animal control authority, a certificate of rabies vaccination.

The other vaccination that may be recommended by our veterinarians for cats of certain status (such as age, breed, history, lifestyle, and environment) is feline leukemia virus. This vaccination may be suggested for kittens, outdoor cats, and indoor cats who are exposed to outdoor cats.