Which Cat Vaccines Need Boosters And Why To Get Them?

Once your cat has had their initial vaccine series, you will need to follow up with boosters. Many veterinarians recommend regular boosters for certain core vaccines. In some cases, you can even go as long as three years. Even if you have an indoor cat, you should consider vaccinating them against certain diseases and getting their boosters. Continue reading to learn more about which core and non-core vaccines and when to get boosters.

What Are Core Cat Vaccines?

Core vaccinations are those that prevent fatal diseases for your cat that could also possibly harm humans. These diseases are extremely contagious and easy to catch even when indirectly exposed. They are usually spread through the respiratory system or saliva. Examples of core cat vaccines include:

  • Rabies
  • Feline Herpesvirus Type 1 (FHV or FHV1)
  • Feline Panleukopenia (FPV)
  • Feline Distemper
  • Feline Calicivirus (FCV)

What Are Non-Core Vaccines?

Non-core vaccines are those that your cat only needs if they are high risk. For example, if you travel or board your cat, your veterinarian may recommend them. They often only need boosters when needed. Examples of non-core vaccines include:

  • Bordetella (kennel cough)
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
  • Feline Giardia

Why Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccines or Boosters?

Many people feel their cat doesn't need vaccines or boosters if they stay inside all the time. However, most veterinarians will tell you to follow the core vaccine schedule in these cases. They will protect your cat if they get out of your home or you go to a groomer or veterinarian. Your cat can also catch diseases through a screen or from pathogens carried into your home on your clothes.

What Vaccines Need Boosters?

Most of the core vaccines need a booster. In the United States, the law may require you to have the rabies vaccination annually. However, some experts say that they can go as long as three years before they need a booster. Most of the core vaccines need to follow the same schedule as the rabies vaccines. Two exceptions are the FPV and FHV vaccines. Your cat shouldn't get them more than once every three years or as your veterinarian recommends.

Vaccines can help keep you and your cat healthy. Most cats have no problems with a vaccine and can handle regular boosters. However, talk to your veterinarian if your cat had a bad reaction to any vaccination in the past. The veterinarian may need to work an alternative to keep your cat healthy and disease-free. If you have questions about cat vaccines or boosters, contact an animal hospital for more information.