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Readers Respond: How do you handle the cat vaccine question? Share your experience here.

Responses: 29


feline vaccines

I belie the vaccines are dangerous for cats and dogs, my cat has had a tumor reomved twice now at the vet and I did research it says vaccines cause sarcoma. no more shots for my cats
—Guest julie

Do it!

I have had no hesitancy to follow my vet's recommendations for vaccination and have had 3 long-living cats and now a 2-year-old younger who was rescued from a Christmas Tree lot last fall. I have not been convinced of any harm from vaccines nor have I witnessed any in the 4 cats I've had since 1978.
—Guest pldrake

First shots only

I always vaccinate my little ones when kittens, but that's it. I had 2 out of 4 get seriously ill after their Rabies, so no more of that! One spent 2 days in ICU and the other stopped eating for 3 years. They are indoors only and we don't have bats. I have asked everyone I know if they have ever had a bat in their house and they all laughed at me. My UC Davis vet agreed that it isn't really necessary plus I have very healthy well taken care of furbabies
—Guest Kelly

vaccinations or no?

I'm new to kitty ownership, but with dogs you can order a titer test through your vet to determine how much of the vaccine remains in the system. When I did this for my dog, she still had plenty of the vaccines in her system that were scheduled to be given. I do keep up on the rabies, but the rest do not need to be given on the schedules usually recommended, especially in an older dog who has had plenty throughout the years. My point: Is a titer test not available for cats?

It's the law, plain and simple

Rabies vaccines are mandated by law here, which makes it an easy decision. I would NEVER go without, anyway, because it is too easy for bats to get into a house. I also do the 3 year distemper shot. Those are the only two I give, as my cats are indoor-only, and very unlikely to get FeLV from another cat.

So Glad my Cat Had Current Rabies Vax

My cat is an indoor cat and after he had a bad reaction (lethargic and sick) after receiving vaccinations, I decided not to maintain them. He's an only child and never outside so I thought the risk would be minimal if any. We moved about a year ago and subsequently changed vets. The new vet wouldn't do dental cleaning unless the cat had a current rabies vaccination. After discussion and upon his advice followed through and updated all vaccinations. So very glad I did because I just found a bat in my house! It appears to be sick. I was able to scoop it up in a shoe box and put it outside. There are no indications that I have a bat infestation in my house so I'm hoping it was a transient bat. I will definitely have it tested for rabies. After researching online, I'm very grateful that my cat is vaccinated and that is current. If you have an indoor cat, please don't ignore the random possibilities.


My cat was put to rest less than 2 weeks after his "annual" vaccinations of Feline Leukemia and Rabies booster. My vet gives a booster every year. I never knew that this could be harmful to my pet's health. We were told after he started showing signs of severe illness that he likely had a brain tumor. The cat was the healthiest and happiest cat you have ever known before the vaccines. How often should our pets be recieving the rabies vaccine? It seems you need to be an expert on everything these days just to receive proper health care for yourself and your pets.

Vaccine associated feline sarcoma

To vaccinate or not? I don't really know the answer to that question, but what I would have liked was information about vaccine associated feline sarcoma before I vaccinated my cat. My once healthy, robust, sweet cat is now in surgery with only a 30% predicted survival rate. He has lost near 50% of his body weight in the past 2 months, a pound just last week. If I had known anything about this cancer, I might have been more aggressive about having the tumor removed earlier when his survival rate would have been higher. However the needle biopsy came back negative, and I waited patiently for surgery, despite the tumor increasing in size. Additional pathology yesterday shows vaccine associated sarcoma related to his vaccine in March. If he survives the surgery and if the cancer does not recur, then he will never be vaccinated again! Unfortunately, he will probably not live to be vaccinated again, anyway. Lesson learned, albeit at too high of a price.
—Guest Cat Owner

Purevax for rabies

Our cat, who was examined the day of vaccination, was said to be healthy got sick within days of injection. Of course, he must have been ill and the vaccine just sped his demise. Of course if he was ill, he should not have been given injection. I only know he was jumping, always hungry, and very much a lap cat before injection. Vomited the next day and started staring, not responsive, and not eating normally on second day. Had very large lymph glands(1/2" - 3/4") under both hind legs within 5 days. After treatments and short partial recovery, the cat was put to rest in less than 1 month after vaccination. Any adverse vaccination events can be reported to the US dept of Agricultural web site. It can be found at www.ahis.usda.gov
—Guest Bob

non core vac's with out consent

I'm still reeling and pretty upset. Took my 2 yr old neutered male to vet for 3yr rabies and distemper shot. He had 1yr rabies & 3way distemper last year with no adverse effect. This year and with out being informed in any way He was given 4way FRCP with non core ingredient for chlamydia. Within 7 days it was obvious something was wrong He began to limp slightly on his right rear leg and looked a bit depressed, a few more days and it was apparent something was drastically wrong, he became anorexic , very depressed , and took to hiding. Upon return to vet , the vet did not at all want to entertain My suspicion that this was in any way vaccine related.."It most likely is Feline FIV or FELV or Haemobartonella" Naturally I had him tested for every possibility..All results for differentials were negative. I should have been informed this vac. was not the same, I feel this 4way shot caused My cat undue illness and placed a financial burden on Me as an owner with the tests supportive TX

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

According to Dr Bob Rogers, these vaccines DO last at LEAST 3 years and most last a lifetime. l Having already lost a cat to VAS I choose not to vaccinate - unless it is with ultra nasal vacs! I

Bad Experiences with VAS

I had 2 cats that were siblings that died from VAS. The first one at 7years. I did the chemo on him, but he died from the chemo. His white count decreased to 1. His brother died at the age of 11 from VAS, even though he had not been given the vaccine between his shoulder blades since his brother died at 7 yo. I have not given any of my cats the FELV vaccine past the first initial 2 since then. I did have the awful experience of bringing home Rhinotracheaitis to my brood. I have since ended up with one cat who now has chronic URI, one who has asthma. and others that just have the sniffles and sneezes just wet excretions, not snotty. I forgot to mention that I have worked at a Veterinary clinic for 19 years. I have seen a lot and don't want to diminish anything that you have said, but I DO believe in vaccinating in the appropriate places, rather than between the shoulder blades. Unfortunately the Drs. that I work for DO Not believe in the VAS thing. They think that it's BUNK & stupid.
—Guest LyndiLee

Not a one-size-fits-all approach

My three cats are indoors with daily supervised outdoor time. Two had initial kitten vaccines and the third has had none. My vet has agreed to treat them without being vaccinated. They are on a home-made raw diet and couldn't be healthier so vet visits are minimal. The one size fits all approach to vaccinations is completely illogical. Being indoor cats, mine aren't exposed to any other animals so why would they need vaccinations? Rabies is one of the most dangerous vaccines with respect to on site tumours and is effective for many years. Why revaccinate every year and why vaccinate cats who won't be exposed to the rabies virus? I'll take my chances that a rabid bat will fly into the house and bite one of the cats. This was one reason given to me for vaccinating against rabies. I'm also taking a chance that one of my guys will get out inadvertently. We are super careful not to leave doors ajar for even a moment. I would use homeopathic nosodes if I had to.
—Guest auntienina

Different Protocols for Different Cats

Since we have totally indoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and ferals that we care for, we use different protocols for each group. The ferals receive the "big 3" plus rabies and FeLV at the time of their spay or neuter by our vet. That's it (try to trap them again!). Of course if they tame, they get a booster. But guess what? After having had just one vaccination, not one of the ferals has EVER come down with any of the covered illnesses. None of them, and there are over 50 (ages 6 months to 14 years old---people dump them off in the dead of night. The indoor only cats get the big 3 plus FeLV. Indoor/outdoor get rabies as well. What is the frequency? After the initial kitten shots, we give a booster a year later... then nothing. We and our vet believe they aren't necessary. Do YOU get annual boosters for measles? FIP vaccinations? Never. Study how this virus works and you might agree with us and our vet that the vaccine is worthless. We have had only 2 cases of FIP here in 14 years.
—Guest OurMoggies

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