Should I Get My Indoor Cat Vaccinated?

Should I Get My Indoor Cat Vaccinated?

Many pet parents wonder whether cats who never set foot outdoors need to be vaccinated. After all, indoor cats are not exposed to the same risks as outdoor cats when it comes to infectious diseases. So, should you get your indoor cat vaccinated? Dr. Doyle and our dedicated veterinary team at Rainier West Animal Hospital are happy to answer your questions and ensure your feline friend is protected against preventable diseases. 

How Do Vaccinations Work?

Vaccines for cats protect your cat against highly contagious infectious diseases. They contain antigens that act like disease-causing bacteria, viruses, or other infectious organisms but don’t actually cause the disease. That means if your cat is exposed to an infected animal, the immune system is well-prepared to ward off the disease, preventing it or lessening its effects and promoting rapid recovery. 

But What if Your Cat Stays Indoors?

Even if your cat stays indoors, certain vaccinations, like rabies vaccines, are required by law in the state of Washington. Your feline friend will need to get the first rabies shots at around 16 weeks, followed by booster shots every 1 to 3 years. 

Rabies is more than a threat to your cat. It is a concern to every member of your family because the viral disease can be transmitted to humans, with a more than 99 percent fatality rate. Even a strictly indoor cat can sneak outdoors and be exposed to a rabid wild animal or bat. It is simply not worth the risk to your pet or family to delay vaccinating your cat against rabies. 

Another core vaccine we highly recommend at Rainier West Veterinary Hospital for all cats is FVRCP, typically known as the distemper combination vaccine. It protects your feline friend against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Whether your cat accidentally gets outdoors or inadvertently ends up exposed to a sick animal, being vaccinated is the best protection.

Additional Recommended Vaccinations 

The AAHA and AAFP recommendations for cats include vaccinating all kittens against the feline leukemia (FeLV) virus following a negative blood test. Cats are susceptible to this disease in the first few years of life, so even if there is the slightest chance of your kitten darting out, it is advisable to opt for this vaccine. After age one, Dr. Doyle will discuss your cat’s lifestyle and may recommend skipping this vaccination from that point on. 

Non-Core Cat Vaccinations 

Dr. Doyle typically recommends the feline leukemia (FeLV) vaccine only for outdoor cats. However, if you have multiple cats in your household and even one of them spends time outdoors, your indoor feline friends need to receive FeLV vaccinations for protection. 

Cat Vaccinations Near Me in Lacey, WA

Whether your furry friend lives indoors or is allowed to roam, Dr. Doyle will evaluate any risk factors and recommend a customized vaccination schedule. The goal is to provide your feline companion with the best possible protection against preventable, highly infectious diseases. We invite you to contact our office at (360) 339-8262 to schedule your cat’s appointment or request one online today!