Research conducted over the past 16 years indicates that certain vaccines put cats & kittens at a small risk of developing fibrosarcoma (cancer) at the vaccination site. This sarcoma is often fatal. Given that you keep your cat indoors, both the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend the following:
• Your young kitten will need a distemper vaccination (usually it is a combination vaccine which includes upper respiratory & calici viruses). This combination vaccine (FVRCP) will be given in a series of 2 or 3 shots - 3 to 4 weeks apart.
• Your kitten will need a rabies vaccine around the age of 3 to 5 months, this should be a 1 year rabies vaccine,
• One year from the first rabies & distemper shot, your cat should get another distemper shot, and a 3 year rabies vaccine,
• After the above, your cat should only receive a 3-year rabies shot and a distemper shot, both administered every 3 years.
• The county, or state, in which you live may have an ordinance that says "the rabies vaccine must be given every 3 years". However, these ordinances tend to have an additional clause that states, "or at the discretion of the veterinarian". Please urge your veterinarian to use his/her discretion with senior pets, age 7 and older. Shots can have devastating and sometimes fatal side effects as pets age. Rabies vaccines can also predispose cats to developing the above-mentioned fibrosarcoma. Watch for new research that states most vaccines for both cats and dogs are actually effective for 11 or more years (in challenge & titer studies). This research has been done, however has not yet been published. Authors of this valid research suspect that the pharmaceutical companies which manufacture the pet vaccines may be obstructing the publication of such research.
HOWEVER, should you decide to let your cat outdoors at any point in time, it is highly recommended that your cat receive a Feline Leukemia vaccination. Research indicates that the FIP vaccine (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) is somewhat ineffective, and in rare cases even predisposes the cat to developing the disease. The Feline Leukemia vaccine is recommended if you are bringing stray cats into your home.
IT IS ALSO IMPERATIVE that your cat see the veterinarian every year for a complete physical and a microscopic fecal check. Your veterinarian can also provide you with safe & effective methods of flea control for cats, and kittens, that should be applied topically once a month. DO NOT use any flea preparations that include pyrethrins - they frequently cause cats to seizure. The most popular flea treatments are Advantage and Frontline (sold without a prescription on the Internet and at Petsmart, Petco and Pet Supermarket stores), and Revolution and others sold by your veterinarian. These are very safe for cats, and very effective.
Your kitten should be spayed or neutered before five months of age as male cats often begin spraying at five months and female cats can become pregnant before five months of age. A ‘fixed’ pet reaps a myriad of health benefits and tends to live a longer, healthier life.
With yearly check-ups from your vet and the above-recommended vaccinations, your cat could live happily for 17 years or more IF it is an indoor-only cat. Outdoor cats have a life expectancy of 3 to 5 years in Florida.