Q & A: Felines and needles

Q: How important is it to have my cat vaccinated?

A: Vaccines contain disease-causing organisms, like viruses and bacteria that have been killed or changed in some way, so that they no longer cause disease but still stimulate your cat’s immune system. Your cat’s immune system in turn protects your cat against the diseases that we vaccinate them against.

Cat vaccines are divided into core vaccines and non-core vaccines. A cat’s core vaccines protect your cat against the more common infectious diseases and every cat should be vaccinated against these diseases. These include:

* Feline panleukopaenia (distemper)

* Feline rhinotracheitis (snuffles)

* Feline calicivirus

* Rabies

Non-core vaccines are given to certain cats based on their risk of being exposed to a certain disease.

Vaccinating your adult cat every year has become a topic that is being heavily debated as many people feel that their pets are being over-vaccinated. We strongly recommend that you take your cat to your vet at least once a year for a check-up. Depending on where you live and your cat’s habits, her risk of being exposed to certain diseases should be assessed. If the risk is high, then you should have your cat vaccinated. By law your cat must be vaccinated against rabies every three years.

If you have any questions about having your cat vaccinated, speak to your vet as it is important for you to understand why your cat needs to be vaccinated and how important it is to have her properly vaccinated.

Dr Amanda Haechler, veterinarian