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4 Vaccines Your Outdoor Cat Needs

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So, your cat loves to prowl and explore the neighborhood and can’t seem to get enough of the outdoors. Regardless of how much the outdoors is ideal for your cat, you may find yourself regularly disturbed about their whereabouts. You shouldn’t blame them for being adventurous since this is a trait that’s second nature to the cat family. Rather, you can deploy certain precautionary measures to keep your cat well-protected. One such measure is vaccination, an approach that has proven time and again to an effective tool in preventing illnesses.

Here is a list of our recommended vaccines for outdoor cats.

1. Rabies

What it does: Prevents rabies, a viral infection that affects a cat’s brain, causing madness and seizures. It can also be transmitted to humans once bitten or scratched by an infected cat.

What cats require this vaccine? All cats above 4 months old.

How often? Most rabies vaccines last one year. Subsequent vaccination can be given as suggested by your vet.

Cost: About $18 to $35.

Cats contract rabies through bites or injuries wounds from infected animals. Once infected with rabies, cats need to be euthanized. To avoid such untimely deaths, have your cat vaccinated against rabies.

2. Feline Leukemia

What it does: This prevents cats from contracting the feline leukemia virus, an incurable illness that attacks a cat’s immune system. It is transmitted through direct or intimate contact among cats.

What cats require it? All cats more than 13 weeks old.

How often? The vaccine lasts for one year. Thereafter, an option for either a yearly vaccine or one that can be boosted every two years can be considered.

Cost: About $15 to $35

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, less than 20 percent of cats infected with feline leukemia make it past three years after diagnosis.

Also, the prevalence of feline leukemia is higher in feral cats, meaning that they’re more likely to catch it. Irrespective of vaccination, outdoor cats should be re-tested annually to determine if they have been exposed to the disease. Kittens also need to be tested at a young age for exposure since they can be born with the disease.


What it does: Also known as the ‘distemper shot’, this is a combination vaccine that provides immunity against three infections namely: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia also commonly referred to as the feline distemper complex. Rhinotracheitis and calicivirus are respiratory infections while panleukopenia affects the gastrointestinal system and weakens the immune system.

What cats require this vaccine? All cats above 8 weeks old.

How often? The vaccine is administered through a series of three shots spread a few weeks apart until the cat is 16 weeks of age. It is boosted again after a year after which it is administered every three years.

Cost: About $15 to $35.

FVRCP is highly contagious. Although it doesn’t affect humans, it rapidly spreads among cats resulting in severe illness cases depending on the host.

4. Anti-parasitic Treatments

What it does: Treats both internal and external parasites.

What cats require the vaccine? All cats above 4 weeks old.

How often? From 3 t0 6 months depending on the age of your cat.

Cost: About $13 to $30

Expectedly, outdoor cats are exposed to numerous parasites in their outdoor ventures. Some are contagious to humans while others just affect cats. Nonetheless, they can prove fatal for your pet and need to be dealt with.

Other vaccines recommended for outdoor cats are;

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
  • Bordatella

With feral cats being more exposed to diseases and parasites because of their outdoor environment, it’s sensible to have them enrolled in a vaccination program. This prevents the risk of contracting diseases as well as boosting the cat’s immune system. Just ensure they get the right vaccinations on time, monitor your cat’s health regularly and in case of any questions consult your vet. 

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