Every responsible cat parent has to protect their cat. Indoor cats, just like their counterparts outdoor cats, need the right vaccinations to live a happy and healthy life. The right vaccinations protect your kitty from diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. Also, vaccines help promote the cat’s immunity system. Thus, the cat can fight infections that could become fatal fast.
Usually, cats should start getting their shots from when they are kittens. Your veterinarian will advise on what vaccination they should receive and at what age. Additionally, the vaccinations your cat should receive also depends on their overall health, and their lifestyle.
However, some vaccinations that a cat should receive are mandatory as required by the law. For instance, most state governments have laws that require every cat to receive vaccination against rabies. This applies to all cats whether indoor cats or outdoor cats.
In this article, we are going to discuss what vaccines do indoor cats need
What vaccines do indoor cats need?
Mostly, cat parents assume that since their cats are always indoors, they are automatically protected from these diseases. Contrarily, indoor cats can still contract these diseases if they are not vaccinated.
They might get the diseases from the groomers, or from a visit to the veterinarian. Additionally, when you introduce a new cat to your household, or when they accidentally access the outdoors. Thus, it is important to vaccinate your indoor cat so that when such incidences happen, your cat will be safe.
Reasons why indoor cats need vaccinations
1.They can accidentally access the outdoors
Your indoor can access the outdoors through an open door or window without your knowledge. Cats are very curious animals and will not hesitate when they get a chance to explore a new environment. Thus, when they get a chance the sneak outside, they will do it without hesitation.
When outdoors, he may get into a fight with a stray cat that is carrying disease and contract it. Also, your cat may end up catching a rabid bat in their quest for hunting and end up having the virus. Therefore, to protect your kitty from the unexpected, ensure that their vaccination schedule is up to date.
2. If your kitty ends up in a shelter or a pet rescue center
Every pet parent hopes that their kitty will never end up in a shelter. However, an unexpected turn of events may lead your cat to a pet shelter. What if your indoor cat accesses the outdoors and gets lost? What if he is found by a good person and taken to your local animal shelter since he has lost his collar too and is not microchip?
Shelters may be home to sick cats. Also, due to the crowded living conditions, your kitty is susceptible to contracting diseases. If your kitty is not vaccinated, they may end up getting sick.
3. There could be a change in your lifestyle
Life may bring changes that may be beyond our control. For instance, moving to a new home or getting divorced. These changes may impact your indoor cat. In some cases, you may need to leave your cat with a new family that will allow him to access the outdoors.
There are so many cats who started as strictly indoor cats but now live as outdoor cats. Thus, if your indoor cat is not vaccinated, they may contract diseases from accessing the outdoors or getting into contact with other cats.
Moreover, change in their environment may stress them and cause a flare-up of a latent disease such as the Feline Herpes Virus. Cats may contact Feline Herpes Virus while in the uterus and be born healthy with the disease not affecting them. However, the disease may flare-up when the cat is stressed from moving houses or introducing a new pet to your household.
4. Your cat may get stressed and lead to a flare-up of a latent disease
Many cats get exposure to Feline Herpes Virus at a young age if they are from the shelter of even when in their mother’s uterus. This disease is highly contagious among cats but does not affect humans or other pets.
Feline Herpes Virus is spread when a healthy cat comes into contact with a sick cat’s body fluids or by sharing food and water bowls, and litter boxes. Although vaccination does not prevent the cats from contracting the disease, it keeps it under control.
Usually, when a cat that has had the disease is stressed, the disease can flare-up and cause respiratory infections and eye problems to the cat. Thus, it is important to vaccinate your indoor cat against FHV to protect him from getting seriously ill from the disease during a flare-up.
5. A rabid animal may access your house
A rabid bat or raccoon can access your house through small cracks or an open door. Keeping your cat indoor is safe but such incidences will pose a great risk to your cat.
In most states, it is mandatory to give your pets rabies shots. If your cat gets into contact with a rabid animal and they are not vaccinated, the law could authorize that your cat is put down. Therefore, to protect your cat, take them to the veterinarian to receive the rabies shot.
Vaccinations that indoors cats need
1.Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)
FPV is a very contagious disease that becomes fatal to most cats. It is also referred to as Feline Distemper. Usually, it attacks the digestive tract lining and causes severe diarrhea which can be bloody too. Most cats suffer from dehydration due to loss of fluids through diarrhea, and malnutrition due to losing essential nutrients through diarrhea.
Additionally, the FPF affects the immune system by reducing the number of white blood cells. Hence, the cat becomes susceptible to other infections due to low immunity. Death from panleukopenia is incongruous and very painful.
Mostly, the virus survives in the environment for a very time. Therefore, when a healthy cat comes into contact with it, they will get sick. Additionally, pregnant cats that have had exposure to this virus, her kittens develop cerebral hypoplasia.
To protect your indoor cat from contracting FPV, they need to receive FVRCP vaccination. The FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia) vaccine is also referred to as the distemper vaccine.
It is a combination vaccine that protects against upper respiratory viruses (rhinotracheitis and calicivirus) and panleukopenia (distemper). This will protect them in case they face a situation that will expose them to the virus such as the shelter. Talk to your veterinarian on how often your indoor cat should receive this vaccine.
2. Feline CaliciVirus (FCV) and Feline Herpes Virus (FHV)
FCV and FHV cause the majority of the infectious upper respiratory infections in cats. The symptoms of Feline Calicivirus are the mouth, nose, and eyes discharge, difficulty in breathing, sores, and ulcers in the mouth, loss of appetite, lethargy, and fever.
Feline herpes virus is also referred to as Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis. The symptoms include discharge from the eyes and nose, conjunctivitis, ulcers in the eyes, loss of appetite, sneezing, and depression. Both FCV and FHV are transmitted through direct contact with a sick cat’s nose, eye, or mouth discharge.
Also, it can be transmitted when a healthy cat eats or drinks from the same with an infected cat. Moreover, carriers, human hands, litter boxes, and beddings can transmit diseases from one cat to another especially in shelters. Although the vaccine does not prevent the cats from contracting these viruses, it reduces the severity of the disease to the cat.
Rabies is an incurable disease that affects the cat’s brain and the nervous system. The symptoms that a cat has rabies include seizures, change in vocalization, disorientation, aggression, and paralysis.
The rabies virus spreads from the wound site (entry site) to the brain and nerves. Then, it gets into the salivary glands such that when the cat bites you or another animal, they will get infected. Bites from infected animals are the primary transmission route of the rabies virus. Rabies is incurable and fatal.
Mostly, once an animal contracts it, they endure about 10 days of pure agony before dying. Therefore, it is important to give your indoor cat rabies vaccine since they can get exposed when a rabid animal accesses your home.
Unvaccinated cats who have been exposed to the virus have to be euthanized. In some areas, they allow the exposed animals to be quarantined which can last up to 6 months. This may affect the mental health of your cat and can also be very expensive. Therefore, to avoid exposing your cat to such trauma, get them to receive the rabies vaccine..
4. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
The Feline Leukemia Virus attacks the immune systems and makes it weaker. Hence, the cat becomes susceptible to many bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Most of the cats who contract FeLV are likely to get virus-related cancers at one point in their lives.
FeLV is highly contagious and is easily spread from an infected cat to a healthy cat through physical contact through grooming each other or sharing food and water dishes. Feline Leukemia is not curable and has no specific treatment. Therefore, it is important to get your indoor cat vaccinated against FeLV.
Note: Panleukopenia, Calicivirus, and Feline Herpes Virus are given to the cat in one injection. Usually, it is referred to as the FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis/ Calicivirus/ Panleukopenia) shot. The other vaccines are delivered separately.