Vaccinating Your Cat

Vaccinating your cat is vital protection against the main infectious viruses affecting cats in Australia. These include Cat Flu, Feline Enteritis and Feline Leukaemia Virus. All of these diseases are potentially fatal to unvaccinated cats of any age.

Cat Flu – Feline Respiratory Disease

This is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by two viruses; Rhinotracheitis virus and Calicivirus. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, and loss of appetite and mouth ulcers. This nasty infection is spread in a similar manner to human flu, via coughing and sneezing or contaminated feed bowls.

Feline Enteritis – Feline Panleukopenia

This virus is very contagious with a high death rate, especially in kittens under 12 months of age. Signs of this virus include vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, depression, severe abdominal pain and dehydration. If a pregnant cat becomes infected it can cause abortion or abnormalities in kittens such as brain damage.

Feline Leukaemia

This virus is also highly contagious and is spread through blood, saliva and sexual fluids. Grooming, sharing food bowls or litter trays can easily spread it. Kittens may become infected before birth if their mother carries the virus. The virus slowly destroys the immune system of cats causing an increase in susceptibility to infections and the development of tumours. Unfortunately 80% of cats infected with the feline leukaemia virus die within 3 years.

When Should I Vaccinate My Cat?

6-8 weeks of age – F3 (Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia)

12 weeks of age – F4 (F3 plus Leukaemia)

16 weeks of age – F4

Annual vaccinations are recommended from 16 weeks of age. These check ups are not just for the vaccination – at this time your cat will also receive a thorough check up that can sometimes detect other illness, especially in older cats.