What You Should Know
Evaluation of vaccinations is your job as your cat's caregiver. One thing to remember is that no one or group of inoculations will protect your cat from all dangers. Secondly, some of the shots carry risk either at the time of inoculation, or much later on.
I strongly suggest you go to:
and read about the more common shots. This site is known as catshots.com, but the actual address is above. Their mission is "Education before vaccination"
I could not agree more. After all, would you give your child a shot without knowing why or what the dangers might be, NO, you wouldn't. Here too, as with any medical decision, you must weight the risks to benefits.
They have pretty much covered this topic from every angle and provide links to vet schools, protocols, and in addition help to explain what the shots are for.
Vet schools are constantly changing the protocols that they recommend. Keep up to date on it. Make sure your vet knows that your cats are indoor only cats. If they are not, but you do take them to the vet, make sure they know that too. While a cat who spends any time outdoors should have more inoculations, those shots don't necessarily help to keep him safe. In fact they may do harm.
All kittens that go home from my cattery are given a series of two shots. The vaccine we use is modified live, FVRCP. The current protocol suggested by most veterinarians is: one shot at about 8-9 weeks, a time that is generally accepted that the antibodies a kitten got from it's mother have begun to wane. The second shot is in effect a booster shot and is given between three to four weeks later. My veterinarian is currently suggesting a booster again at one year and then no shots for three years. The decision to use a "booster" shot is debatable, and will depend on whether you are bringing in new cats, showing, or have any outdoor cats.
I am asked many questions about what shots to give and when and who to believe. This is a complex subject and has been more than covered in any number of web pages and information is out there. I have chosen to link you here to a site that will lead you as far as you want to go into researching this complex subject on your own. The decision to vaccinate your pet is a personal one and should be based on full knowledge and disclosure. Your vet should be your partner in this matter. If they don't discuss this subject with you and insist on injections that you don't understand or want speak up. Do your research and fight for your pet's rights.
Below are some guidelines. These are only guidelines and are on the
catshots site as well.
Inform yourself as to what each injection suggested is for and with the help of your vet determine if the risk/benefit ratio is appropriate in YOUR case.
1. Among the vaccines there are choices. Modified live, killed, nasal, and vaccines without adjutants. Read about these options and then discuss them with your vet. If he or she doesn't use the vaccine you like, and you have determined that your choice is one they don't have, they can get the vaccine you prefer for you.
2. If you decide to give your cat the vaccine, be present when it is done. Note the location of the injection, ask the vet to make a note of that on your pet's records. Also ask that only single dose vials, and disposable needles be used. Make sure your vet tapes the label from the vaccine vial to the cat's record for future reference. If there is a reaction, make sure your vet reports it to the appropriate authorities and the manufacturer. You can do this as well.
3. Check the injection site frequently and report any swelling or any other reactions such as sneezing, runny eyes, loose stools, lethargy, loss of appetite to your vet immediately. While site sarcomas are not rare, they do happen, but vaccine reactions can be serious and do happen more often.
Remember, vaccinations were designed to save your cat's life and preserve his health, a goal you share with your cat, your vet and even me.
Read, discuss this with your vet, stand your ground, and above all, remember it is your decision to make. Your cat is counting on you.