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CAT / new pets

Kitten’s First Shots

Kitten vaccinations are worth it, despite the “meowch”.


First-year kitten vaccinations

When kittens are nursing, antibodies in their mother’s milk help protect them from infections. But after about six weeks old and eating solid food, it’s time for them to be vaccinated. Kitties need several immunizations during their first year to protect them against serious diseases. After that, they’ll only need annual boosters.

The specific shots your kitten should have will depend on where you live, whether your cat will roam the neighborhood or stay inside, and whether you have other cats co-ruling your home. Always follow the advice of your vet.

Don’t forget to screen for feline leukemia

When you take your kitten in for vaccinations, ask your vet to test for feline leukemia (FeLV). This dangerous virus is contagious and can spread from cat to cat.

There’s a vaccine for feline leukemia but even after your young kitty is protected, it’s best not to expose them to cats that have not been tested for the virus.

Kitten vaccination schedule

First visit (6 to 8 weeks)

  • fecal exam for parasites
  • blood test for feline leukemia
  • vaccinations for rhinotracheitis, calcivirus, panleukopenia and chlamydia
  • discuss nutrition and grooming

Second visit (12 weeks)

  • examination and external check for parasites
  • second vaccinations for rhinotracheitis, calcivirus, and panleukopenia
  • first feline leukemia vaccine

Third visit (timing at your vet’s recommendation)

  • second feline leukemia vaccine
  • rabies vaccine

Six months

  • spay or neuter