Vaccinations every cat needs

February 9, 2021 at 7:00 AM
What vaccinations does my cat need?

Just as human vaccines are important to keep us and our community safe and healthy, cat vaccinations are important to keep your cat safe and healthy. At Beech Lake Animal Hospital, we offer advice regarding the vaccinations that your cat should receive. While you might have an indoor cat, there’s always a possibility of your furry friend making its way outside and getting exposed to dangerous microbes. Keep reading to learn more about vaccinations that are highly recommended for your cat.

Feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (FVRCP)

This is also known as the “distemper shot” because it includes Panleukopenia, which is known as “feline distemper”. Feline viral rhinotracheitis and calicivirus are both viral infections that affect the upper respiratory tract of cats. In addition to the respiratory tract, feline viral rhinotracheitis can also affect your cat’s pulmonary system.

Feline distemper, or panleukopenia, is a unique disorder that is highly contagious among both cats and dogs. This disease is caused by a parvovirus and leads to a decrease in white blood cells, which will compromise their immune system. This is an essential vaccine that’s recommended for all cats, both indoor and outdoor.


All mammals (including humans) are susceptible to the rabies virus, which can be fatal. A rabies vaccine is required by law in the state of Tennessee in order to keep you and your pet safe. Your cat will need a rabies booster every one to three years after the age of six months.

Feline chlamydia

Similar to humans, feline chlamydia is a bacterial disease. A chlamydial infection will manifest in cats with conjunctivitis and an upper respiratory infection. While the feline chlamydia vaccine isn’t considered essential, it’s highly recommended. This is often included in the FVRCP and is then known as the FVRCP-C vaccine.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV)

Feline leukemia is typically only recommended for cats that go outdoors because Felv can only be transmitted through close contact. However, we recommend that you fully vaccinate your cat.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)

Most cats that live indoors are not at risk of getting a FIP infection because it’s most commonly found in colonies of feral cats. Although, should your cat find its way outside and among such cats, there’s a high risk of infection. Morbidity rates in cats that contract FIP are as high as 95%.

Feline herpesvirus type I (FHV, FHV-I)

Fortunately for you and your other pets, feline herpesvirus type I is an infection exclusive to cats. This means that it cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs. This is the same for transmission from humans to cats.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

A cat can live for as long as five years after having contracted feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV. Though it’s not rare and only 2.5% to 4.4% of cats worldwide contract FIV, there is no cure. The virus that causes this infection is different than other feline viruses and is more similar to human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. This vaccine comes in the form of two initial doses, then once annually thereafter.


Bordetella is a highly contagious bacterial infection that cats are most at risk for when they socialize with other cats. It can cause a fever as well as sneezing and coughing. While most cases are mild, it can result in cases of life-threatening pneumonia. If your cat hasn’t already received this vaccine, it’s recommended before you take it to a groomer or boarding kennel.

Get your cat’s vaccinations at Beech Lake Animal Hospital

If you’re bringing home a new kitten that hasn’t had its vaccinations yet, the typical schedule is as follows:

  • First visit: six to eight weeks
  • Second visit: 12 weeks
  • Third visit: veterinarian’s advice

If you need to get cat vaccinations or have questions for our team regarding your cat, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can reach Beech Lake Animal Hospital by calling 731-967-0090. For non-urgent matters, feel free to reach out by sending a message using our online contact form.