Macarthur Veterinary Group
Your family pet is in safe hands

Vaccinations for Cats

Responsible pet care requires kittens to be taken to the vet for their initial course of vaccinations, but these cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. The immunity weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease.

Should your pet become infected, treatment can require frequent visits to your vet and possibly hospitalisation. Not all diseases can be cured and disability or death often results.

"The only practical means of protection is vaccination!"

Dangerous infectious diseases that could affect your cat

Feline Enteritis

Also known as Feline Panleucopenia, this viral disease is the most dangerous affecting cats.

It is very contagious and the death rate is high, especially under 12 months of age. Pregnant cats may lose their young or give birth to kittens with abnormalities, and/or brain damage.

Symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood and severe abdominal pain. The virus spreads so easily that heavily contaminated areas may need cleaning with a special disinfectant.

Cats that do recover may continue to carry the virus for some time and infect other cats. Vaccination is recommended.

Feline respiratory Disease (Cat Flu)

Cute kitten playing and rolling on the floorFeline Respiratory Disease is caused in 90% of cases by Feline Herpesvirus [Feline Rhinotracheitis (FR)] and/or Feline Calicivirus (FC).

Feline respiratory disease affects cats of all ages, especially young kittens, Siamese and Burmese cats. It is highly contagious and causes sneezing, coughing, running eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers.

Fortunately, the death rate is low except in young kittens, but the disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks. Recovered cats can continue to carry and spread the infection for long periods.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Disease (Feline AIDS)

FIV is a disease affecting the cat's immune system. Their natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously affected, much in the same way as human AIDS.

This disease is not transmittable to humans.

The virus that causes the disease is present in saliva, FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats.

Vaccination is recommended for all outdoor cats.


Feline Chlamydia (FChl) causes a severe persistent conjunctivitis in up to 30% of cats. Kittens are more severely affected by Chlamydia following exposure to "Cat Flu", and Chlamydia can be shed for many months.

Vaccination against cat flu and Chlamydia protects against clinical disease.

Vaccination is recommended only for cats at high risk of exposure. Please discuss with your vet.

Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)

Feline Leukaemia is a disease of cats caused by Feline Leukaemia Virus.

The virus attacks the immune system and may be associated with lack of appetite, weight loss and apathy, pale or yellow mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhoea, reproductive problems, increased susceptibility to other infections, leukaemia and tumours. Many cats may be infected and show no signs at all.

About one third of infected cats remain chronically infected and may shed virus in their saliva, tears, nasal secretions and urine. The disease is then spread to uninfected cats by mutual grooming, fighting, sneezing or even flea bites.

Vaccination is recommended only for cats at high risk of exposure. Please discuss with your vet.

When Should Your Cat Be Vaccinated?

Kittens will be "temporarily" protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother's milk. Unfortunately, these maternal antibodies may also neutralise vaccines. A kitten will respond to vaccination when these maternal antibodies decline sufficiently.

Under normal conditions we recommend kittens be given a series of four (4) vaccinations:

F3 vaccinations given every 4 weeks, FIV vaccinations given every 2 - 4 weeks.

  • 1st Vaccination 8 weeks F3
  • 2nd Vaccination 12 weeks F3 + FIV
  • 3rd Vaccination 14 weeks FIV
  • 4th Vaccination 16 weeks F3 + FIV

The last vaccination should not be given before 14 weeks of age. Thereafter annual booster vaccinations will provide the best protection for the life of your pet.

Feline Vaccination Guidline

At Macarthur Veterinary Group we routinely vaccinate all cats with an F3 + FIV vaccination. This vaccination protects cats against:

  • Calicivirus (cat flu)
  • Rhinotracheitis or Feline Herpes Virus (cat flu)
  • Panleucopaenia (feline enteritis)
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (Feline AIDS)
  • An additional Feline Leukaemia vaccination (FeLV) may be recommended for cats in high risk situations (breeding catteries), those sharing a household with infected cats and outdoor cats. FeLV vaccination requires 2 vaccinations given 2-3 weeks apart then annually and can be given from 9 weeks of age.

FIV, F3 and FeLV boosters are required annually to maintain immunity.

After Vaccination Care

Your cat may be "off colour" for a day or two, lethargic and off their food. Some may have slight swelling and tenderness or pain around injection site. On rare occasions reactions may be more serious. Please contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat shows symptoms of distress.