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Readers Respond: Do you vaccinate your own cats? Share your reasons and experiences?

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While I would hesitate to try to vaccinate my own cats at home, for a number of reasons shared in the accompanying article, some of my readers do it, with varying results. I'm interested in learning more about your experiences, both good and bad. If you have decided not to vaccinate your own cat, I'd like to know more about that decision also.

Note: This form is not for asking questions or replying to another user or to me. Think of it as your own mini-article on the About.com Cat site. Share your Experiences

I do my own Vacs

I grew up with my mom breeding and rescuing dogs, so I learned to vaccinate early on. All of our cats are rescues, I vaccinate my cats and dogs (except rabies)because I have found it's easier, more cost effective and less stressful on the animals. Honestly I am comfortable doing it, but only because I have been doing it for at least 20 years ( I am 31), I wouldn't recommend doing it unless you know what your doing and are fully comfortable with it. My pets still get yearly checks with our vet, but it's a happy visit with no needle sticks unless it's rabies time(every 3 years). I have never had a problem with it, and when you are doing the first round of shots, not just the yearly, it can get really costly, and for some pet owners that may be why they don't vaccinate in the first place. Our cats are also strickly indoor only (we do have one who goes out on a leash, she is the only one who wants to) and our dogs are indoor as well, except for potty and playtime.
—Guest Kendratl

Owner vaccinating pets

I have 11 cats and if I did not give the vaccines myself I would not be able to afford the expense of taking each of them into a vet to be vaccinated. The first time I did give the shot to my cats I was surprised how tough the cat's skin was compared to human skin and it required a stronger push to get thru the skin. I am use to giving shots to myself because I am diabetic and it was logical step for me to start giving shots to my cats. I do use a combo vaccine so it is one shot. I do know there is always a chance of a bad reaction and I could lose my pet but I think it is better I give the shots then the cats not getting them at all.
—Guest imbennett

vaccinating cats

I have 31 cats currently. I take all cats to the vet to get their shots the first year and for spay/neuter. After that we don't vaccinate. Our cats never go outside and no new cats come in until they are tested and get their shots. I lost my best cat over a year ago to vaccination sarcoma. The vet sent the lump off to the lab for testing and they said it was the result of his vaccination shot. While this is not common, this broke my heart. I had raised this kitten from day one with a baby bottle after his mother rejected him. When we do get a new cat (and that happens more than you think), we always let the vet do the vaccination and the exam.
—cybeeb

Foster mom vaccinates cats

When possible I bring my foster cats to the vet to be vaccinated because a vet can check their general health. Sometimes it's easier on the cat or kittens to be vaccinated at home.
—Guest katrina

Vacinations

Something else to consider is that a lot of communities especially in larger cities have free clinics for the purpose of vaccinations. These are a lot cheaper then going to a private Vet. They are also a good alternative.
—Guest Thomas

Ragdoll Cat Breeder

I have 7 pet and 5 baby cats. No vaccines. I don't believe in the safety of them over the effectiveness and I won't go out and get shots myself, why get them for the kitties? They are indoor cats for life. I once told my vet about why I don't believe in them. In the cancer risk and other possible adverse reactions. He left the room for a very long while, perhaps to look up whatever he could find on the internet? Who knows. Any way when he returned he said the cancer risk is minimal. Well why take that chance if I don't have too? And some folks are hesitant to buy a non vaccinated cat. I tell them this way they are not ruined. I am currently looking for a different type male and having a very tough time finding one that is not in my opinion ruined with the vaccinations. I do not poison my babies. Why pay someone else too? Especially just because this someone went to vet school and gets paid a lot of money to further keep us all in the dark about whats best for our beloved pets?
—Guest Tammy Baugh

to vaccinate or not

I have had heaps of cats since a child I am now 54 and have never had any of my kittens or cats vaccinated. All of them had no health problems and lived to a ripe old age. So save your money for desexing instead. Cats are not like dogs, they don't need to be vaccinated. Jan
—Guest Jan-Maree Warne

Needles for rabies vaccine NOT SHARP

I give my own vaccines to 8 dogs and two cats. However, having trouble getting the Rabies vaccine now, even though farmers are still allowed to do so. REGARDING THE POST, ADDRESSING "TOUGHER SKIN" ...if you get your syringe and needle from vaccine Co. THAT'S WHY THE SKIN SEEMS TOUGH. It's NOT the pet's skin!!!! The needles are not of good quality-not sharp. If you have access to needles used in hospitals, for humans, you will definitely see the difference- I never use the needle sent with the vaccine!!!!
—Guest Bichons9

Vaccinations

I have had two cats that stopped having vaccines at 16(brother and sister). Another cat I stopped at 14 she is 18 now. The brother and sister was 20.4 and 21.8 when they passed away . My dogs are 12 and 11 and stopped about 4 yard ago. I have big dogs. So I believe in shots for about half their life. My friend Also doesn't give shots and her cat lived to be 20.
—Guest Tammy

Don't believe in vaccinations

I do not take vaccinations myself, so why would I vaccinate my cat"
—Summit302

Vaccines for years on horses, cats dog

I have 13 cats, 2 dogs, and 3 horses... I wouldn't be able to afford this kind of Veterinary examinations for all plus vaccines. so Yes I am doing all my own vaccines. Have been for several years, for my horses I have recently started with my cats and my dog.. I learned how to administer vaccines at the Humane society in my town where I worked. Just this week all my cats but an old one has gotten they're first initial shots. They receive a combo injection of a 4way plus leukemia. I know they get the same shot in 3 weeks. now I am hoping to do it every three years, after this. My horses get a 5 way plus West Niles... every year.., One of my dogs got a 7 way.... and going to give him another in 3 weeks. then not for three years... I haven't gotten any bad reactions from any of my animals.... Can you imagine the costs If I had no other choices... My animals wouldn't get vaccines... They need they as we do.... it would devastate me to loose one of them from just a cold.... Hope this help
—Guest Vikki

There's the Cost...and There's the Risk

$100+ is an awful lot for an annual appointment. And I suppose there is no paucity of DIY vaccines--but how much do the at-home vaccines cost? I've heard they're way cheaper, but do I really want to take the risk? Of course, I read that some commenters got their vaccines from the vet. (But I also read vets really dislike people who do at-home vaccines!) I don't think I could risk the life of my cat, Athena, by being an inexperienced no-medical-degree vacciner. However, having just moved, money is tight, and the price of annual examinations for Theen make me faint. I can't do them, if you know what I mean. I just don't think at-home vax is the way to go! What do I do??? Cost (vet) or Risk (that would be me trying to vax my Sphnx) ?
—Guest Juli

Vaccinations are straightforward!

When I was at university I couldn't afford an expensive vet bill. The Vetinarian explained what to do and sold me the vaccines for my two cats. I did them both twice as directed and I can tell you it is a doddle! Do not be afraid and the Vets will be keen to put you off, since at £30 a shot it's a lucrative business indeed. Remember your pets keep them in business, of course there can be adverse reactions. But if you stick to the simple protocols, Right drug, right dose, right method, right patient! You can't go wrong! Now get on with it and save the Vets for those bigger operations. Now that's one thing you won't be doing at home :-) And the Vet who won't accept your vaccinations is among the worst, business first types and you should avoid them completely. Many local surgeries are excellent and manned by understanding vets who will recognise your care for your animal.
—Guest Phillip

suregood

No vaccines, they kill and contain filth-do your own research!
—Guest suregood

Patricia Purr

I just got a new kitten. Her mother was a feral. Her brothers and her have all been adopted. I met the 2 people who I adopted her from a feral cat community, which I help care for. Most of the cats there have be neutered and up to date on shots. The one girl who cares for cats there gave my, now 3 month old kitten, deworming, 2 tests and 2 distemper shots and a rabies shot. Now I am having trouble getting a Vet to spay my cat because most vets don't accept a non Vet giving shots, especially rabies shots. I have all the stickers and the girl who did these shots did once work for a Vet. I do not want to get my cat more shots than she needs such as another Rabies shot, which would not be due for another year. But these Vets are requiring that, she get another before they will spay her. I wish I knew at the time, these shots would not be acceptable. I don't know what to do. It seems I might have to wait a whole year to get her spayed when she can get another Rabies shot.
—Guest Patricia Purr

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