Vaccinate Kittens – When and Against What

Vaccination is a major achievement, both in human and veterinary medicine. With a small medical measure, the body can be immunized against certain pathogens – and lives can be saved. You shouldn’t spare young cats the procedure either. After all, a small jab saves you from lengthy treatments in case of doubt. With a treat as a consolation, even a kitten quickly forgets the exciting visit to the doctor, where the vaccination is administered with a syringe in the flank area. Read what you need to know about vaccinations for kittens here.

Do I have to have my kitten vaccinated?

In general, there is no vaccination requirement for domestic cats in Germany and Austria. You are not legally obliged to have your kitten vaccinated. However, vaccinations are strongly recommended – not only in terms of the individual health of your house cat but also for the general containment of diseases. For example, there is rabies, which can be transmitted in a variety of ways, and which can also be transmitted from animals to humans.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, the last case of rabies in wild animals in Germany was in 2006, but the virus is still widespread in large parts of the world – and can theoretically be reintroduced. If unfortunate circumstances chain together and your cat is suspected of being infected, you must be able to show the official veterinarian the vaccination.

As statistics show, vaccination morale among German cat owners is not particularly good. Only about every third cat is sufficiently vaccinated. If this trend continues, the consequences can be devastating, because the fewer vaccinated cats roam the world, the more violent an epidemic could spread.

It is not just those who are outdoors who are at risk: Some pathogens are capable of surviving outside the body and can also be brought into the home from outside. With the timely immunization of your little tiger according to the recommendation of the Federal Association of German Veterinarians, you show responsibility and arm your fur nose against the typical cat diseases.

Why do kittens have to be vaccinated?

As long as the kittens are still very small, they receive passive immune protection. Antibodies formed by the mother’s organism still circulate in the blood of the newborn kitten. In addition, there is breast milk, which also contains some important antibodies (immunoglobulins).

But this is only temporary protection. As soon as the kittens’ milk consumption decreases and they start to eat solid food, the immunization drops again. This is when the first vaccinations should be given. The eight-week-old kitten is now due for the first vaccination against the cat epidemic and cat flu.

Other vaccinations, such as against infectious peritonitis (FIP) or chlamydia, can be useful depending on the medical indications and living conditions of the kitten, but are not part of the “basic vaccinations”. Unfortunately, there is still no vaccine against the dreaded Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or “cat aids”) in this country. Corresponding active ingredients from North America are ineffective against the local virus strains.

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