The veterinarians of High Ridge Animal Hospital strive to provide the best medical care for your feline pet. A cat's medical needs are as individual as the pet itself, and therefore, the recommendations for preventive medicine need to be customized for the risk factors in which that individual cat is exposed.

Based on the American Association of Feline Practioner's (AAFP) Vaccine Guidelines for Cats, High Ridge Animal Hospital has established the following vaccine suggestions:

Core Vaccines for Cats (universally recommended)

FVRCP — Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpesvirus-1), Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia — Given every 3-4 weeks until after 16 weeks of age, boostered in 1 year, then no more frequently than every 3 years.

  • Panleukopenia, also called feline distemper, is highly contagious viral disease. The instances of the disease have been controlled by the production of vaccines for the disease, but because it is such a deadly disease, it is still a highly recommended vaccine.
  • Feline Calicivirus and Herpesvirus are responsible for more than 80% of all upper respiratory tract diseases. The vaccine will minimize the risk to exposure, but will not completely prevent the cat from carrying the disease.
  • Rabies(Purevax)– the first vaccine is given after 12 weeks of age, which is good for 1 year.
  • Rabies protects against a virus that attacks the nervous system and is always fatal. The number of reported feline rabies cases in the United States far exceeds that of all other domestic animals.

Non-Core Vaccines for Cats (optional — based on exposure risk)

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) — Given after 8 weeks of age as a series of 2 vaccines, 3-4 weeks apart, then yearly. Recommended for cats with outdoor exposure.

  • Feline Leukemia virus is the leading viral killer in cats. The virus is spread from cat-to-cat through bitewounds, casual contact with infected cats, and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. Cats at the highest risk are outdoor cats or exposure to other outdoor cats.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) — Given after 8 weeks of age as a series of 3 vaccines, 2-3 weeks apart, and then annually. The FIV vaccine is recommended for some cats with outdoor exposure. The vaccine may cause a false positive test result on an antigen FIV test. When a cat receives FIV vaccines, it is also recommended that the cat is microchipped for identification purposes in regards to false positive blood tests for this virus.

  • FIV is similar to FeLV in cats. The virus is spread from cat-to-cat through bitewounds, casual contact with infected cats, and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. Cats at the highest risk are outdoor cats or exposure to other outdoor cats. There are vaccines to help prevent the disease but cats that have received the vaccines can also test positive for FIV on a blood test which leads to a false positive result. This is not a highly recommended vaccine because of the false positive blood test results.

The veterinarian will work with each pet owner to establish the lifestyle of each cat, and will discuss the benefits and risks of each vaccine.

All vaccines can cause vaccine reactions in the individual pet. In most cases, there is no problem. Reactions can range from lethargy, gastrointestinal distress, discomfort/pain and respiratory issues. Most reactions occur within a few hours, but can occur up to 7 days after the vaccine is administered.

Download our Feline Vaccine Guidelines here