When you are committed to caring for a cat, you take on a huge number of responsibilities. One of the most serious is keeping your feline furbaby as healthy as possible, and thanks to the creation of highly efficient vaccinations, this is now much easier than ever before. By ensuring your cat is vaccinated against the appropriate preventable diseases, not only can you save her from experiencing painful and debilitating symptoms, you could also save her life and those of other animals that she would ordinarily come into contact with. In some instances, protecting your cat using vaccinations can also help preserve the health of your human family, since a small number of animal infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning that they can be passed from your pets to humans.
Many inexperienced owners fail to fully understand the risk of disease posed to their pets, and this can prove catastrophic for the health of their furbaby. Cats, like all animals, can be affected by illness at any time, but there are times when her risk of disease is higher. Here is what you need to know.
Kittens have an increased risk of developing disease
All cats are vulnerable to disease unless adequately protected, but kittens are particularly at risk. This is primarily because your kitty’s immune system is still developing and will continue to do so until she reaches adulthood. When she is first born, the milk she receives from her mother will provide her with some antibodies that will help keep infectious diseases at bay. However, this immunity quickly wanes and within just a few weeks, your newest and incredibly cute furry friend will be at considerable risk of becoming sick.
Some owners think that keeping their kitten inside until she is older will keep her safe, and while that may lower her risk of contracting a disease slightly, some are airborne or able to travel into your home on other pets, unwanted animals such as mice, or even the soles of your shoes. Therefore, the best way to keep your kitty safe from illness is to ensure that she begins a vaccination program at the appropriate age. This usually starts with core vaccines being administered at around 8 weeks old, but your veterinarian will be able to give you more specific guidelines based on the needs of your pet. If you have purchased a kitten who is older than this, make sure you check with the breeder whether or not she has had any vaccinations prior to you collecting her.
Older cats need to be protected from disease too
Let’s not forget our older felines. While me may think that a lifetime of regularly scheduled vaccinations is sufficient to protect her from the various diseases that threaten her health, the truth is that she is just as vulnerable now as when she was a kitten. This is because as she gets older, her immune system begins to deteriorate, and it is not as effective as it once was. Equally it is important to remember that the lifespan of the antibodies produced to protect your pet from disease as a result of vaccines is still only limited. If the vaccine wears off, so too does your cat’s immunity from the disease.
If your cat goes into boarding, make sure her vaccinations are up to date
Unfortunately, any situation that places lots of animals in close proximity is a potential breeding ground for infectious diseases, and in the past entire populations of animals have been affected by illness in just a matter of days. It has to be said that most boarding facilities now insist on seeing proof that an animal who goes in to stay is up to date with their vaccinations, but it is still a good idea to ensure that your kitty is fully protected regardless.
No caring and responsible pet owners wants to put the health and life of their cat at risk. If you are unsure about what vaccinations your feline needs, or if you think that your cat may be unvaccinated and vulnerable to disease, our team are on hand to get you the advice and support you need. Please telephone our offices to speak to us or to arrange an appointment.