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Should you vaccinate an indoor cat ?

Owning cats in residential or metropolitan areas within Melbourne such as Geelong or Richmond usually means that you will keep them indoors for their own safety. Proximity to traffic as well as other cats is best avoided for most felines, and many cats are content as long as they are exercised and stimulated sufficiently. As an owner of a cat, you make sure your cat eats correctly and has toys to keep him or her occupied and fit. What you may not have considered when it comes to their well-being is cat or kitten vaccination. After all, do cats who don’t go outside need to get vaccinated?

The Australian Veterinary Associations has several guidelines in place when it comes to feline vaccinations, and you may not be aware that it considers several vaccination shots as mandatory core vaccines that should be administered to all cats. These include affordable vaccinations against feline parvovirus (distemper), feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus, all three viruses that can be contracted by housebound cats.

Feline parvovirus

This viral infection is spread through contact with an infected animal's bodily fluids, faeces, or by fleas and can be carried long distances through contact with bedding, dishes, or even by clothing and shoes of handlers of infected animals. Fortunately, it is not contractible by humans.

Feline parvovirus can be transmitted by dogs, is capable of living outside a host for a long time and is resistant to common household disinfectants.

Feline calicivirus

Feline calicivirus is an upper respiratory virus and as such is airborne and inhaled easily. This virus can be isolated from almost 50% of all household cats with an upper respiratory problem.

The virus is also most commonly spread between cats through the sharing of food bowls or the breathing in of sneezes.

Feline herpes virus

Another one of the most common causes of upper respiratory viruses in household cats, feline herpes virus can actually lie latent in all cats that have ever had it, meaning that even a healthy cat can pass it on to another or re-infect themselves.

Many other cat viruses (and vaccines to combat them) exist, such as those preventing feline AIDS, infectious peritonitis, Chlamydophila felis or Bordetella bronchiseptica. The necessity of these vaccines is dependent on whether or not your cat is vulnerable in terms of age, sex and breed or location. It is best discussed with your local Melbourne or Victorian veterinarian.

Your cat’s health is important, and you should always take the necessary steps to prevent diseases that could prove costly and difficult to treat. Making sure your household cat is vaccinated appropriately is a discussion that needs to be had with your local pet care provider, who will be able to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information that you (and your cat) need to stay happy and healthy.