Cat Vaccinations – Current Best Practices

Yearly vaccinations became customary back in the 1950’s, more so for dogs than cats. While there wasn’t any scientific research to justify the annual re–vaccination, neither were there any known risks at the time.

That has changed… dramatically. It’s now known there are many serious adverse reactions to vaccines.

Over the past decade all 27 Veterinary schools in North America have updated their recommendations, as have these industry associations:

  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • American Animal Hospital Association
  • World Small Animal Veterinary Association
  • Australian Veterinary Association

Current recommendations for re–vaccination range from “3 or more years” to “7 or more years” to never.

Adverse Reactions

Vets generally only see immediate reactions. Symptoms can appear up to 45 days or even years later.

Ideally, the virus is destroyed by the cats’ immune response and the additional toxins are purged from the body. But often – particularly with repeated vaccinations – toxins and foreign substances remain in organs, muscle and joints creating low–grade inflammation and weakening the immune system.

For instance the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) created a Vaccine–Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force. They conducted several studies to find out why 160,000 cats a year develop terminal cancer at or near vaccine injection sites.

They acknowledged the cancer is due to vaccines and now recommend changing the injection site from between the shoulder blades to the tail or hind leg so it can be amputated if cancer develops.

Other adverse reactions include:
Allergies, chronic skin problems, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, pancreatitis, kidney failure, liver failure, arthritis, thyroid disease, epilepsy, seizures, paralysis, auto-immune diseases.

Vaccine Protocol

There’s two parts to a vaccine protocol for your cat.
 – Which vaccines
 – How often

Cat vaccines include: Panleukopenia (cat distemper), Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus, Feline Leukemia virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).

Panleukopenia is life threatening. It causes vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and low white blood cell count.

Rhinotracheitis and Calici virus are respiratory diseases. They’re not life threatening and like a cold they cause runny nose, runny eyes and fever.

Feline Leukemia virus requires direct, intimate, cat–to–cat contact. You may want to consider this vaccine if you have an outdoor cat. Indoor cats are realistically not at risk. It does cause chronic immune suppression and can lead to cancer.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), also called Feline AIDS. FIV is believed to be spread only by bite wounds. If infected, the cat usually gets through a period with a fever and swollen lymph glands. However, months or even years later some other immune system stressor can re–activate the disease and it becomes chronic and can lead to death.
Indoor cats are not at risk.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis vaccine (FIP) is generally not very effective and is associated with severe side effects. FIP is caused by the corona virus and can be spread from cat to cat. It’s an upper respiratory infection.

Rabies vaccine.
Indoor cats are not at risk. However, rabies vaccination is often required by municipalities.
Rabies immunity duration studies overwhelmingly support a duration of at least 3 years. Hopefully your municipality doesn’t require yearly shots.

A conservative vaccination approach recommended by Dr. Pitcairn is for a single Distemper (Feline Panleukopenia) shot at 16 weeks.

It’s best to get a single vaccination at a time however, most vaccines come as a combination. For cats you’ll likely get “3–in–1” – Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis and Calici virus.

Additional recommendations:

  • Don’t vaccinate if your cat is sick or immune compromised.
  • Don’t vaccinate if your cat is receiving pharmaceuticals, especially steroids.
  • Don’t vaccinate near or at the same time as surgery such as spaying/neutering.
  • If there’s any adverse reaction at all stop or at least slow down the schedule.
  • Minimize stress as much as possible.
  • Maintain a good diet.

Natural Dog and Cat Care 101 explains the history of vaccination for cats and dogs, the risks, the current science and recommendations from leading Vets. Get the best information to make the wisest care choices.