Vaccine Timeline

Make sure your kitten is up-to-date on his shots by consulting this guide.

By Stacy N. Hackett

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KittenVaccinations are an important part of your kittens health regimen. These shots boost his immune system and help protect him from common feline diseases. The American Association of Feline Practitioners publishes vaccine guidelines that recommend which vaccines to administer, when to give them, and where on the cats body the shot should be injected.

According to these guidelines, vaccines can be classified as core or non-core vaccines. Core vaccines include the FVRCP combination shot that protects against feline rhinotracheitis, calici and panleukopenia viruses, and the vaccine that protects against rabies. Non-core vaccines include those that offer protection against feline leukemia virus, chlamydophila, feline infectious peritonitis, giardia and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Working with your veterinarian, you can evaluate your cats environment and lifestyle to determine if your cat needs any or all of the non-core vaccines. Cats that roam outside, for example, may benefit from the added protection these vaccines provide.

The following list provides guidelines on when to have your cat vaccinated with certain vaccines. The list is provided for information purposes only; consult your veterinarian to develop a vaccination timeline suitable for your specific pet.

Core Vaccines
FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpes), calicivirus and panleukopenia). First shot administered at 6-8 weeks of age. Series administered every two-three weeks until 12 weeks of age. Boosters given at 1 year of age, then once every three years.

Rabies virus. First shot administered at 4 months of age. Boosters given every one to three years, depending on type of vaccine and requirements stipulated by local rabies regulations.

Non-Core Vaccines
FeLV (feline leukemia virus). First shot administered at 8 weeks of age. Second in series administered at 11 weeks of age. Boosters given once every one to three years.

Chlamydophila. First shot administered at 8 weeks of age. Second in series administered at 11 weeks of age. Boosters given annually.

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Reader Comments

Christine    Waltham, MA

12/28/2014 8:44:02 PM

I adopted the most adorable kitty from my vet. When he came to me he had his first shots. I took him back last week for what I thought was a worm problem..He has worms but what's worse is he has FIP which has a 100% mortality rate. The vaccine is still questionable among some.?? Had I known about it core or not he would've had it done. It is a very quick, ugly virus that takes them over..he was diagnosed 5 days ago. My Oliver is going to heaven in the morning at 6 months of age.
Please don't think twice about any vaccines..but especially this one. =(

Christie    Houma, LA

12/27/2014 8:49:07 PM

I just adopted a 6-7 week old kitten from a local shelter I asked if he needed shots now they told me no that he is too young to get any shots or any test done is this true

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

10/29/2012 12:58:42 PM

Anna -- Your kitten is still young! He will benefit greatly from your cautionary care. The vaccines are a course of treatment, so your kitten might need more than one shot. Talk it over with your vet, and please discuss neutering as well. You can do this as young as 6 months of age.

Anna    SB, CA

10/26/2012 3:18:29 PM

So what if my kitten did not receive those shots? And is close to 4 months old? I adopted him when he was just over 3 months, so he missed getting his shots early. What is the time line to get the shorts now, and boosters? I understand he should get the core ones asap, but would he be just getting one dose because he is older? Thank you!

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