What Should I Know About My Cat’s Vaccinations?

Vaccinations are part of a preventive health plan for all kittens and cats. However, which vaccines your pet needs vary based on her life stage, home environment, and how (and with whom) she spends her time.

Whether you’re a proud parent of a new kitten, you’re adopting an older cat from a shelter, or your household is gaining a feline friend, it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian to assess which vaccinations the new cat requires—as well as potential revaccinations for other pets currently in your home.

It’s not about “indoor or outdoor” anymore

Years ago, in order to determine which vaccinations were needed, veterinary team members used to ask, “Is your cat ‘indoor or outdoor’?” It was a common, but nonspecific way to assess for which diseases your cat might be at-risk. These days, the question of whether your cat goes outside can be a bit murky due to all the adventuresome cats on social media who venture out on leashes or the lucky kitties with indoor/outdoor “cat-ios” (aka, cat patios).

If you have multiple cats, the lifestyle of each individual affects the others. So, if you have one cat who never goes outside, but lives with another cat who does, this will be considered by your veterinary team when determining how to best protect your pets with a vaccination protocol.

Descriptions to consider

Be prepared give detailed descriptions to help the veterinary team assess your cat’s risk factors so they can give you informed recommendations for safety, nutrition, behavior, and protection from zoonotic disease.

The team may ask you to describe:

  • Your cat’s typical day
  • How she interacts with the “outside world,” e.g., through a screen door or high-rise window
  • The environment she explores outside
  • The type of supervision she receives on her “adventures,” e.g., leash walks, roaming on her own
  • Other locations she visits, e.g., friend’s house or boarding/grooming facility
  • Her relationships with any other animals living inside or outside your home

As always, if you have questions about your pet’s healthcare plan or concerns about suggested treatments, your veterinary hospital team is your first resource. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification about why your pet needs certain vaccines based on her unique risk factors.



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