Do cats need injections?

Do cats need injections? Definitely yes! Preventive measures would always be better (and cheaper) than cure. These shots are the cat’s first line of defence against the most common feline diseases. A lot of life threatening diseases can now be prevented with vaccines. This is the reason why some areas would specifically require pet parents to have the pet injected.

A responsible cat owner would make sure that all the basic needs of the pet are provided. However, apart from a safe environment, apart from providing the pet with prime quality foods to ensure its optimum health, cat owners are expected to make the pet free of preventable feline diseases. This preventive measure is immunization. A caring cat owner would make sure that the pet receives all the necessary injections.

How do these immunization injections work? When a shot is administered, the cat’s immune system is stimulated to produce antibodies that will respond to possible invasion of infectious agents. Altered or attenuated viruses are administered through injections. Because the viruses are weakened they cannot infect the cat but they do have a very important function. The antigens or foreign proteins contained by the vaccines will be recognized by the immune system. In the event of an invasion of the specific infectious agent, the immune system will be able to protect the cat by producing antibodies that will fight the infectious agents. These injections are very necessary as they greatly reduce the possibility that the cat will succumb to the common feline diseases.

What injections must be given to the cat? Kittens usually receive their first injections at 8 weeks of age. The most common injections given to cats are for Feline Leukemia (Fe LV), Feline Calici Virus (cat flu), Feline Panleucopaenia (Feline Distemper), Feline Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpes) and for rabies. FeLV injection is needed as feline leukemia is a lifelong serious disease. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat. Cats must be vaccinated against Feline herpes virus and Feline calici virus as cat flu is a very common disease. Cats must have rabies injections as well. Rabies is a deadly disease that can affect not only animals but humans as well. This is the reason why some areas specifically require pet parents to have their pets vaccinated. Extensive rabies vaccination programs have generally prevented the occurrence of this fatal infection in domestic animals. However, rabies is still noted in wildlife population. This is why rabies injection is most necessary for outdoor cats.

Prevention is always better than cure. Pet parents would not think twice on spending for the injections that will save the pet from the common feline diseases. However, some groups in the veterinary community are questioning the efficacy of giving the cats annual injections. Is it possible for the booster shots to do the pet more harm than good? The decision to have the pet injected can have some unwanted effects on the cat and one of which is vaccine induced illness. A group of vets believe that the reintroduction of the weakened virus into the cat’s body is not necessary as the immunologic memory that allows cells to produce antibodies is retained for life. The decision to have the pet injected can be due to the hoopla of vaccine companies (and vets) that induces fear on cat owners. Vaccines are therefore administered even if they are not really necessary. For instance vaccines for non-transmissible diseases are not really needed by indoor pets. Vaccines will protect the cat from a specific disease but if it is most unlikely for the cat to be infected then the injection is not really needed.

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