Vaccinating cats and kittens

Animal Care Assistant holding two kittens at Newport Animal Centre © Joe Murphy/RSPCA PhotolibraryVaccinations help to protect your cat from severe infectious diseases. It also prevents them from passing anything nasty on to other animals in your area. Vaccinating your kitten is one of the most important things you should do in your first few weeks as a cat owner.

When should kittens be vaccinated?

Your kitten will need two sets of vaccinations to get them started - their first set at nine weeks old and a second booster set at three months old. After this, kittens and cats usually need 'booster' vaccinations once a year.

Until your kitten is fully vaccinated (and neutered), you should keep him or her inside.

What diseases can vaccinations protect against?

Cats are commonly vaccinated against:

  • Cat flu (feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus)
  • Feline infectious enteritis
  • Feline leukaemia virus

Your vet can advise which vaccinations your cat or kitten will need to help protect them from infectious diseases. When you get your kitten, one of the first things you should do is register them with a local vet, who will be able to carry out the vaccinations your kitten needs.

How much do cat vaccinations cost?

Prices can vary from practice to practice and costs will depend on which vaccinations your cat or kitten receives. Speak to your vet to see if they offer a health care plan for your pet. These allow you to spread the cost of preventative veterinary treatment, such as regular health checks, annual vaccinations and flea and worm treatments. We might be able to help with vet costs if you meet our eligibility criteria.

How long are vaccinations effective?

Some vaccines are given as booster injections every year. Your vet will give you a vaccination record, which you'll need to keep safe.

What if I adopted my kitten - will they be vaccinated?

If you adopt a kitten or cat from us, they'll be vaccinated before they leave our care. That's one of the reasons we charge an adoption fee when we rehome an animal.

Some kittens may be rehomed before they're ready for their second set of vaccinations. If this is the case, we'll let you know and may arrange for you and your kitten to come back at a later date. Otherwise, you can make arrangements with your local vet.

If you're looking to buy a cat from a breeder, take a look at our advice on what to look for when buying a kitten.

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