It’s one thing to say that cats have nine lives, but in the true sense, the proverb is worthless if their health is not in the pink. Since they are a part of your family, it becomes extremely important for you to keep a check on their health and get them the necessary treatment whenever needed.
Just like other pets, cats also need to be vaccinated and given necessary preventive shots. However, it is important for you to be aware of the basic timeline and frequency of these preventive treatments so that you don’t skip anything and risk the life and health of these mostly nonchalant creatures. The frequency of shots varies on the cat’s geographical location, lifestyle, life stage, and immune system functions.
To help you get a basic idea of the crucial health measures, we have listed out each preventive treatment with the necessary information:
1. Flea Prevention Shot
It is a popular belief that fleas are contagious and get transmitted from one pet to another. A cat infected with fleas may spread them to any other cat they come in contact with. With a remarkable ability to spread and survive, fleas can be a serious concern for your cat. Though it is easy to detect the fleas, they can make their way into your house without any help.
Therefore, the risk factor of your cat catching fleas is pretty high even if they don’t come in contact with any other animal. However, it is not necessary that every cat must be given flea shots every month. If your fuzzy pal has a healthy skin and no signs of any illness, he/she would only need occasional flea preventive shots.
Keep an eye on them in case the fleas are insidious. It is common among owners to not notice fleas on their pets. Therefore, it is recommended that you use any of the modern flea preventives available out there.
2. Heartworm Prevention Shot
Spread by mosquitos, this is a worrisome health risk that must be prevented at all costs. Since mosquitos are capable of entering your house easily, your cat is at a much higher risk of getting infected by heartworm disease. These parasites bite the pet and if infected, may transfer a thread-like worm into their bodies. These worms, if left unnoticed, may damage the lungs and heart and cause serious health risks.
In case your cat gets infected, you should be able to identify the symptoms so you can get them treated as soon as possible.
Here are the symptoms you should look out for:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Periodic vomiting
- Asthma-like attacks
- Difficulty walking
- Occasional seizures
- Fluid accumulation in the abdomen
The American Heartworm Society has recommended the prevention of heartworm in all cats (Indoor and Outdoor). Moreover, a heartworm preventive shot would also protect your cat from intestinal worms that can also spread to humans.
There is no specific time period within which the shot should be administered. However, the majority of owners don’t opt for a heartworm shot as the disease is prevalent in certain parts of the world — mostly tropical and temperate regions.
3. Vaccine Booster Shots
Booster shots are not a thing that should be administered every now and then. This feline vaccination is recommended on the basis of the age of your cat. This higher the age, the less it is likely that your pet would need a vaccine. Therefore, kittens need shots, or else the chances would be higher of them not surviving in the initial months.
Feline panleukopenia, a virus that causes gastrointestinal, nervous system, and immune system disease, is the primary cause of kittens dying in the initial months. Booster shots are, therefore, recommended for all cats at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, and 14-16 weeks of age. The FVRCP booster vaccine is essential only until the cat is one year old.
For indoor cats, further booster shots can be given at 5-7 years of age. Since it is one of the most important vaccines of kittens, you should know about the two different vaccines available for outdoor and indoor kittens. The first one prevents feline leukemia and the other one prevents FeLV. There is a thin chance that your cat would be affected by FeLV as it present in the outdoor environment.
4. Rabies Shots
This one is the final that is essential for protecting your cat from rabies. Being the deadliest of them all, rabies can kill both humans and cats. It is spread through direct contact with an infected animal. Though it is unlikely that an indoor cat would be infected by rabies, prevention is better than cure.
Vaccinating the cat depends on many factors including the local laws on rabies vaccination, tolerance for risk of getting infected, and the tendency of your cat to biting you and other people. It is better for you and your feline friend to get them vaccinated before anyone of you pay the price.
What to Be Careful Of
These vaccines, though essential and highly effective, may cause serious complications to your cat’s health that may even lead to death. Cats can develop injection-site sarcomas, a type of cancer that creates a tumor after your pet is administered certain types of vaccines. However, you would never be able to get a clear perspective on the number of vaccines a pet needs.
It is, therefore, your responsibility to reach out to a trusted and recognized vet who is trained to identify the complexities in every cat. The practitioner would customize the vaccination periods, type, and dosage according to the cat’s requirements.
If you are finding a feline friend, you can choose from the different species, subspecies, hybrids, and everything in between. From Persian Cats to Mainecoon or Ragdoll Cats, you can find the one you would love to bring home and make a part of your family. The one-stop destination is a heaven for pet lovers.