December 3, 2009 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Cat shot question. How often does my cat need boosters?

I have an indoor cat over 10 years old. He has never been an outside kitty and never will be. I have been taking him yearly for boosters for: feline leukemia, rabies, distemper, etc. He is a healthy boy. Someone, not a vet, mentioned to me that these boosters are not necessary every year and could be administered every two to three years, if at all, after a certain age. Can you point me to trustworthy information on the web on what shots a cat really needs throughout its lifetime?
posted by bunny hugger to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer:

Scroll down to "Does my adult cat need vaccines every year?"
posted by little miss s at 9:34 AM on December 3, 2009

FVRCP every 3 years (ideally broken out into FVRC and P separately and staggered), and rabies every year if you use the pox-vectored vaccine, which is thought to be less likely to induce vaccine site reactions in cats. Rabies every 3 years if you use the standard vaccine.

They do need doctor exams at least every year, ideally every 6 months.
posted by biscotti at 9:38 AM on December 3, 2009

FWIW - I have 3 11 year old indoor cats (all sisters) who have never been to a vet, never gotten any shots and are healthy as can be. I would seriously discount the value of veterinarian provided health if you are consciously attending to that yourself.
posted by torquemaniac at 9:57 AM on December 3, 2009

second the conservative approach to shots for permanent indoor cats, unless you are introducing new cats into the herd. the old fat boy caught the flu from the new baby and, lacking a recent rabies booster and adding an extremely bad attitude, was diagnosed by vet staff poking his cage to make him hiss, then verifying the lesions in his throat. they gave me a bottle of baby 'cillin to eyedropper into him, at my own risk.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:28 AM on December 3, 2009

Best answer: my two cats have been without updated shots for the past 3 years. one of them is 6 and the other is 18. i am sort of going for the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, especially with the 18 year old. because they are indoor cats and have not been exposed to any other animals in about 4 years, i have not been too concerned about their shot situation. do what you feel is best for yours, though. the vet will probably tell you to keep them on a regular schedule.
posted by itsacover at 12:23 PM on December 3, 2009

Best answer: Two years ago, we gave our dog his annual rabies booster. Shortly afterwards, he developed an autoimmune disease, spent months undergoing costly treatments, and ultimately died. The type of anemia he developed has a tie to vaccinations.

Earlier this year, we gave our cat her annual rabies booster. Shortly afterwards, she developed leukemia (non viral), underwent months of costly treatments, and ultimately died. Leukemia doesn't have a proven tie to vaccinations, but the timing was suspicious to me.

After long conversations with many vets, I have learned that several of them are concerned about annual vaccinations. One even told me that she cringed every time she gave them to her own pets. Most vaccinations are good for at least three years, even though they're labeled for yearly use. Speak to your own vet about your concerns - you might be surprised about his or her response.

At the least, I'd say to scale down to every three years. There is also a rabies vaccination called Purevax that doesn't have adjuvants in it and is less likely to trigger an autoimmune response. Although it's labeled for yearly use, it is also good for three years.

Note that your local laws may require you to keep rabies vaccinations yearly and that you might find yourself in violation of those laws. Some states don't even have a provision that allows you to refrain from vaccinating pets that have demonstrated life threatening reactions to shots in the past. How you decide to deal with the legal aspect of vaccinating is up to you.
posted by Addlepated at 1:13 PM on December 3, 2009

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